Responsorial Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 14-15
In this Gospel John writes about a group of Gentiles who want "to see Jesus." These Gentiles (or Greeks as they are called in John’s gospel) approach Philip who is from Bethsaida, a Greek speaking city in Israel, possibly because they overhead him speaking in their language. You would think Jesus would welcome them, however as John records, their requests only make Jesus more thoughtful, more reflective. Their request for an audience makes Jesus realize that the days of his public ministry are about to come to an end. In only six days Jesus will undergo his passion and death.
"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified…unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies…whoever loves his life loses it…whoever serves me must follow me." These are some of the most poignant words in John’s gospel. They are recorded to remind John’s listeners (you and me) that salvation comes not by "attracting" others to the message of the gospel, but through "embracing" the person of Jesus on the cross.
Our holy founder Paul of the Cross knew this very well. He writes to his spiritual daughter Agnes Grazi that unless a grain of wheat dies, bears fruit, is harvested, milled and turned into good flour to feed others, it is useless. It does not fulfill the purpose for which it was created.
The same applies to us. It is only in our embrace of Christ on the cross, dying to all that is self (usually in a hundred and one little ways) and transforming that as a gift to others that we really fulfill God’s plan for us and ultimately experience salvation. It is the only way we will get "to see Jesus."
Do you really want "to see Jesus?" Take the "I" and cross it out and embrace what you see before you. Then you will see Jesus.
Patrick Quinn is the director of Planned Giving at the Passionist Development Office in Chicago.