18TH MAY 2021
A DIFFERENT KIND OF GLORY IS HERE
The word glory has been used 6x in today's Gospel passage. Keep in mind that this passage describes the conversation Jesus is having with his disciples on the evening he will be betrayed, arrested, tried, denied and sentenced to death. Why would Jesus speak of being glorified by the Father and him glorifying the Father in such a situation? What glory is there in being denied, betrayed and crucified?
Normally sad and dark moments in life do not bring glorification but only sarcasm, indifference and mockery to those who undergo such moments, yet the work of Jesus speaks of completing and hence the reason he is to be glorified - is the work of the cross, the unexpected, even the unimaginable place of his ultimate glorification. Why unexpected and unimaginable?It is unexpected and unimaginable because the cross is a place of extreme vulnerability, isolation and complete identification with humanity, that is , with us.
Perhaps it's also both unexpected and unimaginable because we tend to identify glory with strength, with victory, with triumph and success, with adulation and longevity, yet Jesus says, " I have shown your glory on earth ; I have finished the work you gave me to do. "
Here we see that if Jesus glorified God and finished the work God gave him to do, then it means he seeks glory in service, servanthood, suffering, vulnerability and loss for just three years on earth having lived for only thirty three years. He did not need four years and he did not need thirty four years to glorify God and finish the work God gave him to do.
We learn from Jesus that the importance of life in which we glorify God is not seen in it's duration but in it's donation. Donation means what you have done with your life whether the life will be short or long.
How many more years do you need to be added on your current age for you to glorify God by being a good parent,a responsible driver,a serious government officer, a keen doctor,a humble priest or a respectful hardworking young person?
You do not need any addition. You only need to realize that the human penchant for identifying strength with longevity and glory and vulnerability with weakness leads us to unhelpful trust in ourselves and our abilities. And , when we finally realize that we are limited and fall short whether by illness or age or moral lapses or manifold disappointments we either suffer and inflict daily ,the lie of our strength is exposed painfully by the fact of our mortality.
Today's Gospel passage gives us another perspective about our definition and understanding of glory and how to get it. What difference does this new perspective make in our relationship with God? How will it change what we imagine about life?How does it alter our picture and knowledge of God?