“Whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”

In yesterday’s gospel reading we stayed with John (12:20-33).  Here, the appearance of some Greeks (formerly[?] pagan foreigners) came for the Passover and asked to see Jesus (the whole world is coming to recognize Christ).  This prompts Jesus to a monologue which begins with: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (v. 23).  He says that this time is the time of judgment and He goes on to speak of His impending death obliquely (e.g., grain of wheat must die to produce fruit, when He is lifted up He will draw all men to Himself).  Jesus even receives audible affirmation from the Father which the crowd hears.   Jesus also speaks of what it means to be an authentic follower of His; the headline is the key.  This life is not the end; rather it is the beginning.  But how we act on earth determines our eternal fate.  “Hating” this life does not mean despising ourselves or our circumstances.  We neither look for an early exit, nor treat ourselves, others, or any part of creation without the respect it deserves as being made good by God.  What we cannot do is to cling to anything on earth that prevents us from fully engaging God.  The first commandment declares that we shall not have other gods before God.  If we are guilty of any vice or sin — all of which take away from our right relationship with the Almighty — we must work to eliminate it.  God is waiting to pour out His abundant graces on those who seek them with sincerity.  What is keeping us from fully embracing the Lord?

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