Monday, March 30, 2009

About the Greeks...

Did you notice the curious passage at the beginning of John 12:20-33, yesterday's Gospel reading for the 5th Sunday of Lent?

"Some Greeks" among the worshippers at Passover came to Philip and asked to see Jesus.  The good news is: they weren't bearing gifts!  The bad news is: we'll never really know what they wanted with Jesus because, after Philip relays the request to Andrew and the both of them tell Jesus, there's no further mention of them.

Albert Newton, not the English zoologist, offers an interpretation:

Meditation on the Greek Event

All they said is
"We want to see Jesus"
and that's the last we hear of them
no "Well, show them in"
no "What are they up to"
no "What Greeks?"
no "Not right now -- I'm too busy"
no nothing
about the Greeks
'cause the story is not about the Greeks
but Jesus.

All the Greeks are is an event
in a way beyond our comprehend
they are a sign
that now is the time
not yesterday in the wandering 
not tomorrow when it's done
not when we looked for it
not when the shadow broke its shade
not even when the wine is free
but now
when the world says
I've heard of something
I want to see.

So it's time
when it may still be Greek to you
but not to me
though I may not yet understand
I want to see
and be.

As this Lenten season moves towards the great Holy Week, we, too, "want to see and be."  To do so we  must look at the Cross which, already next week, will be graphically set before us in the Passion.  We must look at the Man stretched out upon it.  We come to see God face to face only through this human Jesus, this One who deals gently with our ignorance and waywardness because of his own experience of human weakness, the One acquainted with "loud cries and tears," with obedience and suffering and death.  We come to be through the One who "being made perfect...became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.

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