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For Your Weekend: One Day We Will See Jesus

Jeannine Yousif

Dig Deeper into Sunday’s Gospel: Read John:12:20–33

“Sir, we would like to see Jesus” (John 12:20).

There have been so many times that I have longed to see Jesus, touch Him, and hug Him. Countless times, I have knelt in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and imagined Him right next to me. In times of deepest prayer, I have been able to picture my head resting on His shoulder, my hand in His. While I recognize these mental images as consolations and grace, I still long for the moment when I will see Jesus. How I pray a sweet embrace and smile is waiting for me!

Our gospel reading this week begins with a group searching for Jesus, longing to see Him, perhaps to be touched or healed. At first glance it seems as though Jesus ignored their request, brought to Him by two of His apostles. He didn’t respond with a “Yes, of course, show them to me.” He answered with a rather ominous and confusing exhortation, beginning with, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23). 

Jesus knew that His physical time on earth was waning. A time was soon approaching when no person—Greek, Jew, or otherwise—would be able to see Him with their own eyes. Jesus knew that what was coming would challenge and test the faith of His closest friends, leaving them heartbroken, afraid, and confused. 

Our Lord was using this time to clarify what it meant to be His disciple. The Hebrew word for disciple is talmid. A talmid, in Jesus’ time, would be expected to give up his entire life to be with his teacher, his rabbi. It was not enough to learn the teachings of the rabbi. The foremost goal of any talmid, any disciple, was to become like the rabbi and do what the rabbi did.[1] Jesus perfectly modeled for us what was to be expected of us as disciples: humble obedience to the Father’s will and self-sacrificial giving entirely out of love.

What is the way of discipleship? It is the way of the cross, my friend. 

“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” (John 12:24). 

Our Lord was going to be literally lifted up onto a cross in the most inhumane and heinous way a person could suffer and die. Yet, He chose this so that all could see Him, but more importantly, MOST importantly, in order for the redeeming and saving work of His Father to be accomplished, to be finished (John 19:30).

Jesus knew that with His obedience and with His consent, with His choice of the cross, the fruit of eternal life and communion with the Father would be made available to all. “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself” (John 12:32).

If the way of discipleship is the cross, and Jesus wants disciples to be made of all nations (Matthew 28:19), then all of us have a cross to bear. But he’s not just asking us to bear it. He’s not just asking us to pick it up. He is asking us to embrace our cross and follow Him.

There’s a difference, isn’t there, between picking up our cross and embracing it? 

Yet, the call of discipleship (if we truly desire to be the talmidim of our Lord) is to do what He did: embrace our cross. However, we must endeavor not to do so out of resignation, resentment, or even obligation. Rather, Jesus is asking us to choose the cross and embrace His way of obedience and self-sacrifice. He is asking us to pick up our cross, willingly, and then out of love for Him, love for our Father, and love for others, embrace it; embrace our suffering, voluntarily wrap our arms around our suffering, and accept it into our lives. 

Wrap our arms around our suffering? Embrace it? I’d much rather step over my cross or, better yet, bury it in the dirt. Or how about a smaller cross, maybe one that isn’t so heavy or painful and arduous to carry? 

We need only to look to the communion of saints for examples of men and women burdened with illnesses, poverty, and great tragedies. Rather than sink inward with despair, these holy men and women embraced their crosses and followed Christ. Saint Pope John Paul II denied doctors’ pleas for him to stay back from public appearances due to his declining health. Instead, riddled with chronic pain from progressive Parkinson’s disease, our dear pope continued appearing in public, wanting the faithful to see that even though he was suffering, he was relying fully on Christ. He was often pictured embracing his staff, leaning on it for support. At the very top of his staff was the crucified Christ on the cross. As Saint Pope John Paul II embraced the cross, He embraced Christ.

As Christ’s talmidim, His disciples, we are called to look “to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2, emphasis added). How did Jesus endure the cross? He thought of the joy that His suffering would ultimately set in motion: His resurrection and the rescue of God’s children. 

He thought of you, and he thought of me. He thought of all of us still to come and the promised fruit borne for us out of His death: how the grace of the Holy Spirit would now be poured freely upon us, inviting us to be fully reconciled to the Father’s heart. 

Most of all, our Lord could picture the joy it would bring the Father to know that all His children would now have the opportunity to live in freedom from the chains of sin and death.

You, dear friend, are the joy of the Lord. You were on His mind and heart as Jesus made His way to Calvary. You are His joy. For you, He picked up His cross, embraced it, and endured it. You. For “He will take delight in you with gladness…He will rejoice over you with joyful songs” (Zephaniah 3:17).

Let us meditate on our Lord’s example so that we can follow His way. Let us ask for deeper trust to embrace whatever suffering that lies before us, sure of the promise that it will one day lead us to see Christ in all His glory and majesty. We will see Him and embrace Him. And He will lift our face to meet His eyes. And in that moment of joy, He will “wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more” (Revelation 21:4).

With you on the way,

Food for thought or journaling: 

What crosses is the Lord asking you to bear? What is the disposition of your heart and soul as you contemplate them? 

Dear Lord, You know the crosses that I bear. Fill me with perseverance and fortitude to not just endure them but embrace them. Fill me with hope that I may claim the promise that the way of my cross will lead me right into Your embrace. Amen.

[1] “Discipleship: the Talmidim,” Impartial Christian Ministries (accessed March 6, 2024): https://herunstome.com/2017/03/17/discipleship-the-talmidim/.

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