Glorious self-giving

The readings for today are Psalm 47, 147.1–12; Ezekiel 47.1–12; John 12.20–32.

The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:23b– 25 NRSV)

At Advent we reflect on the promise that a messiah who would come to reign as a glorious king but today’s Gospel reading turns our notions of glory upside down. True glory is found in costly, self-giving love. The triumph of Jesus is found not in his asserting his power but in his dying on a cross. His death brings life to many.

Jesus calls his followers to a similar self-giving. Frankly, I find this difficult. I don’t much like the talk of hating one’s life. Yet I am sure that grasping, clinging, holding on to one’s life is the surest way to losing it. The life well-lived is the life given away in the service of God and others.

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