As we enter into these late Lenten days, the Gospel of St. John is featured more prominently in the Mass readings. Like the other accounts of Jesus in the scriptures, it contains events known well to us. While it is certainly important to “know” these things, we have to avoid the human pitfall of, just because they are familiar, failing to either appreciate anew their significance or applying their message to our lives. We can be “hearing” them again at Mass but our minds can be a million miles away…
As the last of the Gospels chronologically, St. John’s is rich in theology as well as literary style. He has built into the milieu of his work certain key words which act like clues or tip-offs as to what is going to happen. They set the tone and the mood and aid us in putting ourselves more consciously into the living drama of salvation which we renew again during this special time of year.
One such key word is “hour”. When Jesus speaks of “the hour” in St. John’s Gospel, he is not asking what time it is! Rather, it refers to that moment when He will fulfill the Father’s Will in laying down His life in sacrifice for us on the Cross and then rising again to bring us with Him to new life in the resurrection. Often earlier on, we hear how “His Hour” has not yet come. Remember when they tried to throw Him off the hill in Nazareth…but He just passed through their midst and went on His way…because “His Hour” had not yet come. Well, we are fast approaching that time when “His Hour” will in fact arrive and there will be His open acceptance in Love of His role in our salvation.
While we don’t quite have moments in our life like “the hour” in Jesus’, we do have moments when we are confronted with either doing God’s Will or not. Sometimes we look to dodge it and find the quick escape. Sometimes we may embrace it but only begrudgingly. At other times, our better times, we openly accept God’s Will and make it our own. Perhaps knowing this little insight into St. John’s Gospel will help us appreciate its significance all the more as we enter again into the holiest time of the year. Hopefully, it will also help us to embrace God’s Will in our own lives and realize, truly, that every time is the right time when it comes to going with God.
Fr. Eric Orzech