Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Jesus Christ gives greatest glory to the Father precisely in the shattering
degradation and utmost ignominy of the Cross. "The hour has come for the
Son of Man to be glorified." (Jn 12,23) Dying Jesus destroys our death
and rising he restores our life, but the work must now be completed for
each of us daily.
You and I share in Christ's glorious completion of the Father's will
when we too accept the Cross and the Passion heroically and generously
in our lives: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls
into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much
fruit." (Jn 12, 24) It appears at first as though Christ merely reminds
us that we too must die as he will, and prepares us to accept it. But listen
to what he says next: "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates
his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." This dying, then,
is one which bears fruit by detachment from this world for the sake of
the kingdom of heaven. A daily dying to the self by overcoming a million
petty urges and desires. A generous acceptance of the duties of marriage
and family life with cheerfulness. A configuring to the truth by rejection
of sin and regular Confession.
A husband meets his greatest challenge to die to self and live for Christ
as he devotedly cares for his terminally ill wife unto the end, never counting
the cost in dollars or days. He has chosen Christ and "hated" his own life
in this world so that he can live forever. A wife attends to her paraplegic
husband in a heroic living of her marriage vows, choosing Christ and his
life, and "hating" her life in this world because she looks forward with
anticipation to the day when both she and her husband will know no more
pain, suffering, labor or temptation.
A parent unconditionally loves his child afflicted with Downs syndrome,
open to the Godly beauty and goodness that child has brought into the world.
He "hates" his life in this world and sees a foretaste of heaven in the
innocence of his child. He desires to share forever in the glory of God's
love and understands that he must reject the very easy path of selfishness.
The infertile couple reject the temptation to manipulate the process of
life-giving through unnatural methods of conception and open themselves
to the joys of adoption. They truly "hate" their lives in this world in
reverence for God and the desire to do his will, choosing salvation as
their greatest hope over the other good things this life offers.
We are not alone in our temptation to reject the crosses by which we
are born into life if we will only bear them with patience and courage.
Our sharing in baptism is the gift of grace so that we can desire a share
in Christ's redemptive passion as the focus and purpose of our lives.
The desire to embrace his Father's plan of redeeming love inspired Jesus'
whole life, (Cf. Lk 12:50; 22:15; Mt 16:21-23) for his redemptive passion
was the very reason for his Incarnation. And so he asked, 'And what shall
I say? "Father, save me from this hour"? No, for this purpose I have come
to this hour.' (Jn 12:27) And again, 'Shall I not drink the cup which the
Father has given me?' (Jn 18:11) From the cross, just before 'It is finished,'
he said, 'I thirst.' (Jn 19:30; 19:28) " (CCC 607)
In our prayer let us truly thirst for the Father's will in and with
Jesus our Lord as we utter the words "Thy will be done."
(used with the permission of Fr. Cusick from his