Weekly Rosary at the Wall, Bethlehem

Weekly Rosary at the Wall, Bethlehem

Gospel – John 12:20-33

Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast
came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee,
and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”
Philip went and told Andrew;
then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
Jesus answered them,
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.

“I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?
‘Father, save me from this hour’?
But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
Father, glorify your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven,
“I have glorified it and will glorify it again.”
The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder;
but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”
Jesus answered and said,
“This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.
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.”
He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.

Reflection by Br. Henry Chaya, FSC

In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus tells us that a grain of wheat must first “die” before it can bear any fruit. He further tells us we must hate our life in this world if we are to enjoy the benefits of the glorified life Christ won for us through his cross. This is quite a challenge, to say the least!

I do not think Jesus means we must literally die before we enjoy the glory of God’s kingdom. No, I believe we are meant to enjoy God’s kingdom here on earth. However for that to happen we need to overcome our fears and biases which prevent us from going where the Holy Spirit wants to lead us. To make this idea more concrete, let me share a story from my own spiritual journey.

I entered the Brother’s community in Lincroft New Jersey in 1978 from a Princeton University PhD program with everything but a dissertation. I expected that I would get a tenure track position at Manhattan College and possibly spend some years at Bethlehem University (BU) as a couple of my Brother professors had done before me.

An opportunity for a position opened up in the early 2000s around the time of 9/11. In June of 2002, I went to visit BU with the hope of teaching a summer course to get to know the students and faculty at BU. However, that was not to be. The Israelis had the town under 24-hour curfew and the only movement on the streets were tanks and armoured personnel carriers. The curfew was only lifted for a couple of hours a week. Needless to say, there was no summer school that year. In fact, the spring semester ended in early August.

For my part an opportunity came suddenly to leave this situation for another Brother’s community in Jerusalem. There was no time to debate the decision; I took the option to “escape.” However I did return for the 2003-2004 academic year and left after that year because

of the atmosphere of political violence. However, I kept in contact with BU through remote teaching. The bonds BU grew gradually such that I resigned my tenure track position at Manhattan College and joined BU full-time until the end of my professional career. The Holy Spirit worked slowly over several years to lead me to that decision. It never would have happened unless I listened to the spirit through the power of prayer. I have no regrets. I had the opportunity to work with a wonderful group of people.

Questions for Reflection

  • Are there any barriers you can name that might inhibit you from experiences that might lead to spiritual fulfillment?
  • What do you hope for in the glorified life Christ has won for us by his cross?