“Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.”
It’s interesting to reflect on these words in today’s Gospel reading, words that Jesus prayed on the night that He was betrayed and arrested. Our Lord is praying that that Father may glorify Him so that He may glorify the Father, and yet, Christ knows what’s going to happen. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He is in anguish and agony thinking about what awaits Him on this night and asks that this cup of suffering be taken away from Him. He realizes the path of suffering in front of Him will be extremely difficult and painful, yet in the end He concludes “Not my will, but your will be done.”
“Glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.”
Imagine, how the Father glorifies His Son. He allows Him to be arrested. He allows Him to be humiliated. He allows Him to be crucified and utterly defeated by the world. He allows Him to seemingly fail in an earthly sense.
Yet, the glory of God comes through the voluntary obedience of Jesus to the Father. The glory of God comes through the extreme humility of Christ. The glory of God comes through accepting the path of sacrificial love. The glory of God comes through embracing the cross because Christ knows that the cross will not be the end. The glory of God comes through the ultimate faith that He has, knowing “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”
This is the challenging mystery of life that we embrace with faith and hope. Life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived. We may not understand this mystery of life at times with its confusing difficulties and inexplicable suffering, yet we hand over everything to God and repeat the words of our Lord, “glorify us so that we may glorify you.”
We may not understand this mystery of life with all the challenges it will bring, yet we embrace and live life with unfailing faith and with hope! We remember the words of Saint Paul when he says, “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
When we read the news every day and reflect on all the suffering happening in the world, on the craziness and insanity we see in our society, we’re tempted to despair. We’re tempted to only see the darkness and evil all around us. We’re tempted to question where God is in all of this mystery of life.
When we face unexpected and difficult challenges in our own lives, we may be tempted to despair and wonder why this is happening. Where is a good God in the midst of our sadness and uncertainty. We may cry out, “Lord, take this cup of suffering away from me.”
Yet, in these moments we look to Christ and remember God’s eternal perspective is quite different from our temporary and limited worldview. What may seem like a disaster today can have a very different outcome tomorrow. Let us learn to embrace the words of Christ and make them our own. “Lord, glorify me that I may glorify You.”
May we always remember that the glory of God comes through carrying a cross. Yes, this cross may include humiliation and suffering. Yes, this cross may seem as if darkness and evil prevail. Yet, when we believe that God is ultimately in control, when we remember that God is always with us, when we believe that God will have the final word, then we are assured that “through the Cross joy has come into the world,” that through sacrificial love God will prevail, that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Christ willingly accepted the cross as a path to glorify the Father. This is part of the mystery of life. And we are called to follow Christ and accept whatever crosses may be a part of our lives but we accept them with faith and hope.
“Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.” May we offer this same prayer in our times of greatest struggle – “Father, glorify us in these challenging moments so that we may glorify You.”