This is the 5th Sunday of Lent, and we are now just days away from the beginning of Holy Week, so that we may walk with our savior and most loving friend as he enters Jerusalem to die. The Gospel today is drawing us into this reality as we see Jesus preparing for his hour. “Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” As we prepare to be with Jesus, Jesus is also preparing us to be closer to him. The judgment that Jesus has given from the Cross and that he repeats every day in our hearts is freedom from Satan, freedom from slavery to sin, and a new life to live with him that will raise us up from worldly allurements to true joy, to true love. It is almost as though Jesus is expressing his dissatisfaction with what the world offers us, and he is giving us an alternative, to be a part of his glory with the Father.

The Gospel begins with the apostles Philip and Andrew going to Jesus to try to introduce him to others who are seeking him. Jesus’ answer to their petition is a teaching on what it means to find Jesus and to follow him. Jesus is giving us the instruction to be his disciples, to come to know him and live with him! What is the key to this awesome invitation? What profound teaching does God-made-man have to give us so that we can have life and have it more abundantly? We just need to be willing to die and lose our lives. Easy, right? But let us properly understand what this means. Christ says that those who love their lives will lose them, but that those who hate their lives in this world will preserve it for eternal life. So, we have a comparison between worldly life and eternal life. Which one would you say is better? I believe most of us would say eternal life because it is the life of love and truth, while worldly life is fraught with tribulations and struggles. In fact, I believe we can say that life in the world is limited, and eternal life is infinitely more. So, what Jesus is asking us to do is to desire

We must ask ourselves, “Am I content with my worldly possessions? Am I happy with the level of holiness I have now? If Jesus asked me to give up something in my life in order to serve him, would I do it?” As we already saw, Jesus is dissatisfied with Satan’s temptations, which means he also mourns our hearts when we settle for them. Let us not be afraid to desire more! Let us have courage in Jesus, and his Holy Spirit dwelling within us so that we can tell God that we desire more than this life can offer and we want to receive God’s offer instead: Glory! “Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified my name and will glorify it again.’ Jesus said, ‘This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.’” God the Father is speaking directly to you, and is telling you that he wishes to glorify his name in you! What will you answer? Can God have your life, or will you keep it?

~Deacon Phillip Mills