Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 11: 1 – 18
Revelation 21: 1 – 6
John 13: 31 – 35
There’s that word. I wonder if you noticed it this time. It’s not a very big word. In fact, it’s just three letters long. It’s a pretty common word. We use it a lot. But, John doesn’t. At least not in this context. And when he does, it’s huge! Cosmic events are unleashed when Jesus utters one, tiny, common word. Now. Now. Now.
When [Judas] had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.
Jesus has used this word in John’s gospel once before. He used it in the previous chapter, just after his encounter with the Greeks.
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ 
In response to their request we wish to see Jesus, he says much the same as he does in today’s gospel.
‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’
Until these two moments, during what we call Holy Week, one happening soon after the other, Jesus and John use the language of not now, of not yet.
My hour has not yet come,he said to his mother at the wedding in Cana and to his brothers before the Feast of Booths. My hour has not yet come.
In other places, John uses the same language to explain why certain things did not happen. Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come.
But something has happened. Something has changed. And now, now is the time.
But if now is the time, what’s it time for? That’s the question isn’t it? What time is it exactly?
Well, if you follow the thread, it’s time for glory. In fact, it’s glory o’clock!
Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’
‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.
For John, the Cross, the Tomb, the Resurrection and Ascension, the Coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, are all part of one great, sweeping, timeless, cosmic event. They are not a series of separated, isolated, individual events. It’s not even so much that one leads to the other in an orderly sequence, separated by time and space. Rather they happen almost at once, in an instant, in one great, sweeping, timeless, cosmic moment.
As humans, we tend to isolate these moments. One day is Good Friday. Another day is Easter Day. Yet another day is Ascension Day, and finally comes the Day of Pentecost. For us, these moments, these events, are divided by hours, by days, by weeks. But for John they are all one, one great, sweeping, timeless, cosmic event.
So when Jesus says ‘now’, what he means is that ‘now’ is the time for glory, in one great, sweeping, timeless, cosmic moment, as Cross, Tomb, Resurrection, Ascension and the Coming of the Spirit pour out upon, and from Christ, making all things new,as heaven and earth are remade, and the new Jerusalem appears, coming down out of heaven, into our very midst.
It is this image of glory attained even now, that captured Father Benson’s heart. For him, ‘glory’ was not something that happened to someone else, or at some unknown, distant future. It was not reserved simply for Jesus, alone. The moment of Christ’s glory is the moment of ours as well. Because we are one with Christ in baptism, Father Benson tells us, we are one with Christ in glory.
In a letter to Father Gardner, written in 1875 he says:
We do not, I think, dwell as we ought to dwell upon the present glorification of our nature in our own persons, as the members of the glorified body of Christ.
And so he tells us to:
Look with faith to His cross, and see Him there identified with your weakness. Look upward to His glory, and see yourself identified with His might. Look to the cross, and see Him one with yourself, in the struggle with sin, although without sin. Look to the glory, and see yourself one with Him in the energy of holiness, although burdened with so many sins.
Look to the glory, Father Benson tells us, and see yourself one with Christ in the energy of holiness.
If what we say about Baptism is true, that in Baptism we are made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven,then what Father Benson says about glory is also true. Look to the glory, and see yourself one with Christ in the energy of holiness.
If now is the time when God will glorify the Son, God cannot glorify him separately from us, for we are one in Christ. As Father Benson reminds us:
[Christ] is not glorified in His own person only. His Apostles had fed upon Him, and His body within them, by virtue of the Holy Eucharist…. He was in them…. Now upon His Ascension, His body in them is glorified instantaneously with the glorifying of His body at the right hand of God. Like an electric flash the glory of the Spirit shines out in the fires of Pentecost. The body of Christ, however veiled in our flesh…, nevertheless cannot but have the glory of the Spirit of holy fire burning and resting upon it.
I wonder how differently we would live, if we were conscious that the glory of God not merely shines upon us, but like an electric flash pulsates from within us, filling the world with the grandeur of God, like shining from shook foil.
For Jesus, and for us, ‘now’ is the time, it’s our time, to shine, with the grandeur and the glory of God, because now, it’s glory o’clock.
John 13: 31 – 32
John 12: 20 – 21
John 12: 27 – 28
John 2:4; 7:6
John 7: 30
John 12: 28
John 13: 31 – 32
Revelation 21: 5
Benson, Richard Meux, Further Letters of Richard Meux Benson SSJE, A.R. Mowbray Co. Ltd., 1920, page 268 – 269
Benson, Richard Meux, Cowley Calendar, With Some Words Chiefly from the Unpublished Retreat Addresses of Richard Meux Benson, 1932, page 29
Book of Common Prayer, Canada, 1959, page 544
Benson, Richard Meux, Further Letters of Richard Meux Benson SSJE,A.R. Mowbray Co. Ltd., 1920, page 268 – 269
Hopkins SJ, Gerard Manley, God’s Grandeur
Please support the Brothers work.
The brothers of SSJE rely on the inspired kindness of friends to sustain our life and our work. We are grateful for the prayers and support provided to us.