A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John (Jn 12: 20-33)
Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast
came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee,
and asked him, "Sir, we would like to see Jesus."
Philip went and told Andrew;
then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
Jesus answered them,
"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.
"I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?
'Father, save me from this hour'?
But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
Father, glorify your name."
Then a voice came from heaven,
"I have glorified it and will glorify it again."
The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder;
but others said, "An angel has spoken to him."
Jesus answered and said,
"This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.
Now is the time of judgment on this world;
now the ruler of this world will be driven out.
And when I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw everyone to myself."
He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.
Come Holy Spirit, teach us the ways of Your love.
"I will draw everyone to myself." This line of the Gospel is striking especially in contrast to the line before it, "the ruler of this world will be driven out." The first seems to imply a freedom, while the second is by force. Our Lord drives out the evil one by His might. But this force is not His way with us. He leaves us free. As the ultimate lover of our hearts He draws us to Himself. This word evokes a manner of gentleness of Jesus' way with us. Always inviting us deeper into His heart, so full of love and mercy that He pours Himself out on the cross for us. And this drawing is no merely ephemeral attraction. But He draws us to union with Himself, to conformity with Who He is. This implies a death to self, to the things of this world, as we hear in the beginning of the Gospel. This gentle invitation of Christ to Himself can often be a subtle movement in our hearts in the midst of day to day life, to turn to Him, to choose Him again above all else, to love our neighbor with Him as He loves them. But we can so easily muffle the movements of our hearts that we are no longer attentive to His invitation, to His desiring us to be with Him. What is cluttering my heart? Do I spend time alone with Jesus in silence every day? What is it that I am attached to above Christ? (Mother Teresa said you can tell what you're attached to by what you think about all the time). Do I do a simple examination of conscience regularly to see where I responded to God's love or where I ignored it?
With the Bride in the Song of Songs Lord, we ask, "Draw me after you! Let us run!" SoS 1:4