Fifth Sunday in Lent ReflectionSunday 18th March 2018
In the fifth of our Sunday Lenten Reflections we hear from Fr Michael Deas on today’s Gospel Reading:
Today’s Gospel from John provides us with a great example of an encounter with Christ. And a good way to pray about these encounters which are recorded in the Gospels is to enter into the scene as one of the characters and see how we have very similar encounters in our own daily lives.
Today, imagine that you’re Philip. Some Greeks, i.e. foreigners or non-Jews, want to see Jesus and so they approach Philip and appeal to him.
Why do you think the Greeks approach Philip? Is it because he has a Greek name? Does that give us an insight into how evangelisation works? Perhaps people feel more drawn to those they culturally relate to. For example, we could say that young people attract young people to a relationship with Christ, and families attract families. Can you imagine someone approaching you to ask about Jesus? Maybe in your place of work, or in your social circles? What could be the reasons for that to happen? And, quite importantly, what would you do next?
Philip gets help from his friend, Andrew. He doesn’t carry on alone. And we presume from the text that they bring the Greeks to Jesus together. To where would you bring someone to meet Jesus?
And what does Jesus say? ‘Unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain.’ In other words, the greatest act of love is to give oneself totally for the benefit of others, and through that death to self, life flourishes. Jesus is the embodiment of this, as his true glorification of God comes through his death and resurrection to save all of us. Simply put, God is love, true love. How does that make you feel? And how do you think your friends, family or work colleagues would feel about that?
The encounter begins with so-called Gentiles drawn to Jesus and ends with Jesus saying he will draw all people to himself. Jesus is therefore open to all. Can we imitate him and be open to everyone we meet too?.