Give glory to God

Introduction

I was once a religious education teacher in a Catholic secondary school. Our Year 10 program included a unit on The Growth of the Church. Part of the curriculum dealt with the five geographical and historical contexts of the life of the Church. The fourth context was titled “Growth of the Church during the period of ‘Christendom’”. The focus was on the growth of the Church in Europe. 

Fast forward to the twenty-first century: Cardinal Walter Kasper, the renowned German theologian said in an interview with Frédéric Martel, the author of In the Closet of the Vatican (2019), ”… My village in Germany. I go back to my region every summer. There are bells, churches. At the same time, today, people don’t go to mass very much and seem to be happy without God….” 

Christendom had long gone by the time we entered the twentieth century, but the Church continued its efforts to evangelise and to re-evangelise. Joseph Cardijn (1882-1967) was well aware of the destructive influences of economic greed on the lives and faith of his peers. He dedicated his life to addressing the needs of young workers. The See, Judge, Act method employed in this Gospel Enquiry is a fruit of his labour.  

The struggles we experience in the world today are not unlike those experienced in the time of Jesus. This Gospel Enquiry has been written to encourage us to not retreat into a simpler, more secure past, but instead, like Jesus, to face the world with faith, hope and love. 

The Gospel

Jesus said to Andrew and Philip:

‘Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you, most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.

‘Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in the world will keep it for eternal life. If a man serves me, he must follow me, wherever I am, my servant will be there too. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.

’Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say: Father save me from this hour? But it was for this very reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name!’

(John 12:23-28)

The Enquiry

See

  • Read the Gospel. Summarise what Jesus says to Andrew and Philip. Why does he speak with his two disciples? (You will benefit from reading Chapter 12 of John’s Gospel.) Who else was present? Why were they there?
  • Read the Gospel again. What does Jesus reveal about his view of the world where he carries out his mission? What does he require of those who choose to follow him, the non-negotiables? 
  • Which part of the Gospel reading has stayed with you the most?

Judge

  • What do you make of Jesus’ words to his two disciples? Do you find them affirming? Or are you turned off by his derscription of the Christian vocation? 
  • Where in this reading can you find support for Cardijn’s teaching about the temporal and eternal destinies that each person receives from God?      
  • Read the Gospel passage again. Is Jesus trying to take you out of your comfort zone? Is that important, that is, that every person needs to be made to feel uncomfortable about their place in the world? 

Act

  • So, what do you accept as the change that needs to happen in the world because of Jesus being present in the world? 
  • How can you help to facilitate that change? What small action can you take that will contribute to bringing about this change? 
  • Who can you involve in your action and how, when and how often will you get them to participate in your action?

Author: Pat Branson 

Image Source: Fr Lawrence Lew, OP (Creator), Flickr, CC BY 2.0 DEED Attribution 2.0 Generic


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