(Fifth Sunday of Lent)
Rev. Dominique Peridans
Home is where the heart is—they say.
Perhaps, ‘tis the place to which the heart,
shattered, scattered abroad, returns.
(from Gloria Squires, with whom I am unfamiliar)
I will draw all people to myself.
Jesus, on the Cross, “lifted up from the earth”, arms wide open,
the place to which our hearts,
shattered, scattered abroad, return.
He is our home.
And, all people are drawn, welcome, no heart left out.
That is inclusiveness.
The powerful embrace that transcends every imaginable tired political
Let’s take a quick look at this interaction,
A group of Gentiles come to Jerusalem during Passover
(when the Jews celebrate delivery from slavery) hoping to see Jesus.
Why the Temple?
As non-Jews, it’s not their Temple!
as early Church Father St. John Chrysostom (+407) suggests,
it was such a splendor, that even non-Jews honored the Temple with
Why do they want to see Jesus?
Well, as Jesus reveals, desire for God results from God attracting us.
Jesus is somehow attractive to them.
Why do they approach Phillip instead of Jesus?
The apostles were preaching to non-Jews.
Phillip, which means “mouth of the lantern”,
as mentioned in Acts, chapter 8, was the first apostle to preach to
Why does Phillip go to Andrew?
Perhaps out of respect for Andrew who became an apostle before
Then, as mediators, together Andrew and Phillip go to Jesus.
What is Jesus’ response?
If I were Jesus, I probably would have said,
“Awesome! Bring them in! Celebration! Mission being accomplished.”
Instead, initially odd, Jesus reveals his Passion and Death.
Jesus reveals that soon they—and all—will truly see.
Indeed, Jesus will say to the same Phillip, during the Last Supper
“Whoever sees me sees the Father.”
But his Passion and Death are to be understood
in the light of something seemingly unrelated: much mentioned glory.
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
His Passion and Death, in which, somehow,
his followers mysteriously participate, is ultimately about glory.
Jesus then says, “Father, glorify your name.”
And the Father, the voice come from heaven
—as at Jesus’ Baptism and Transfiguration,
responds, “I have glorified it and I will glorify it again.”
What is glory?
Some of you may recall the working definition I often propose (!):
glory is the radiance of God,
divine light and love, which, in God, are one, as they overflow.
Jesus’ mission: to communicate the glory of God.
In seeing these Gentiles coming, apparently ready,
Jesus says that the “hour” of His Passion and Death has come,
the time for the grain of wheat to fall into the earth and die,
and in so doing, to bear much fruit: glory.
Revelation too heavy for our hearts and too befuddling for our minds,
As St. Paul says, “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to
(I Corinthians 1:22).
At the Cross, however,
Jesus pours forth “attractive” light and love to overflowing
—so that death, which normally brings them to a screeching halt,
no longer bring them to a screeching halt.
Jesus doesn’t say,
“I will draw all people to myself after the Cross, when this mess is
We sell Jesus short when we only think of the Resurrection as the
The Cross as historic event is tragic.
The Cross as mystery is the communication of victorious light and
The Resurrection makes this reassuringly manifest.
As mentioned, then Jesus then reveals
that we are called to participate in the mystery of the Cross.
We don’t simply consider the historic event and hope to be moved.
We are to receive this light and love, eternally poured forth,
and to be instruments of it—to overflowing.
And, this is only possible by complete surrender,
put in frankly frightening terms as “hating one’s life”!
I don’t know about you but, without Jesus,
there is no way I can lay down my life for others.
If only we understood what God wishes to accomplish in and through
we would unclench our fists and receive more light and love.
Let us surrender to Jesus
—including the difficulty that we have to surrender to Him!
He is one step ahead of us.
He is not just on the back end of successful surrender.
We must indeed freely choose to surrender, but
Jesus is quietly bestowing grace on the front end of our surrender.
Hear the poignant question of Saint Jane de Chantal,
widowed at age 28, in 1601, with four children,
a broken-hearted French baroness who took a vow of chastity for
and eventually founded an order of nuns for women in poor health.
When shall we cast ourselves undeservedly into the arms
of our most loving Father in Heaven, leaving to Him the
care of ourselves and of our affairs, and reserving only the
desire of pleasing Him, and of serving Him well in all that