Today’s Reading: John 12:20-26
Author: Jean Smith
“Sir: We wish to see Jesus.”
This phrase is personal and timeless to me.
It puts me in Jerusalem long ago, among Gentiles in Jerusalem marking the Passover. Jesus is here. He rode into town on a donkey and was celebrated, an unusual and risky situation. What people say about him is astonishing. He was born a Jew, yet the way he lives and teaches really upsets our leaders and our traditions. All sorts of people gather wherever he is. For us to be in his presence is essential because we don’t really understand who he is. We want validation, we need personal experience.
Centuries later I recognize the yearning that is part of my being. Myriad times “I want to see”, and it ranges from skepticism to hunger for encounter. Praying varies from doubt to tremendous expectation. I’m not a big risk taker. It has been suggested these Gentiles approached Phillip because his name was of Gentile origin. He needed help, too, and consulted Andrew, whose reply took them both to Jesus. How thankful I am for a people who know Jesus and know I need them!
The response we read from Jesus is not the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ I expect when I’m intent on an outcome. For the most part, I want clear and immediate answers. When they come in unexpected fashion, I’m more apt to ask, “Is this really the answer?” I could fill a line with question marks. Ageing has its perks as well as its limits…..hindsight can be a blessing. I was raised among people who knew Jesus and shared him. I shut a lot of it out but seeds were planted that helped with later refocusing. I remember when I fell on a scenic trail and broke my ankle. After the emergency room a small child was visiting. Her mother saw my cast and asked, “Jean, What Happened?” Before I could say a word, the child piped up, “She didn’t watch where she was go-o-o-wing!” I’ve thought of that many times when sight is skewed and my path has its challenges. Sight is a precious human attribute that sometime gets separated from our other senses. Mine can be easily distracted. John’s Gospel tells us Jesus saw a panorama of change when he heard his disciples’ request. We don’t know how he replied to those particular Gentiles, we do know that sacred sight was granted beyond human expectation and still is.