When he [Judas] had left, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me,and as I told the Jews, ‘where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.” Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”
John 13: 31-33, 36
The hour has come for Jesus to be glorified and for God to be glorified in him. It comes in the midst of all the pain, complexity, and incompleteness of human relationship. In a Eucharistic act, Jesus shares the morsel of bread with Judas, knowing full well that Satan is about to take him over. Yet, he shares his life and love with him even in this moment. The other disciples, including Peter and the Beloved Disciple are unable to fully share the moment with Jesus. They remain in ignorance and misunderstanding. They have been together so closely for some years, and yet they do not know which of them is to betray Jesus. They also still have no idea about the meaning of this moment and where Jesus is going.
As the moment arrives in which Jesus is fulfill his call and destiny, he is, while physically among his disciples, painfully alone. The time and the place where our call is to be realized is, finally, a moment of utter solitude. To glorify God and to be glorified by God we must enter into the life that is ours alone, we must perform the task that is given to us, a mysterious task for which only we can be responsible. We must enter a realm where no one can accompany us.
We live in a time in which every moment, every nanosecond is filled with stimulation, distraction, and the sounds and images of the world around us. Where once communication required physical presence or else the leisurely days between a written letter and reply, today the incessant “ping” of our mobile devices summons us to react to the continual news, words, or demands of others. We have developed a technology that does not foster the deep consonance and uniqueness that are born of solitude but rather greater conformity and reaction.
Thus, the experience of Jesus as related in this chapter of John’s gospel is a cautionary tale for us. Our deepest responsibility in life is to the call, the mission, that we are, that we have received from God. That call, however, is shrouded in mystery. It is not something that anyone else can take on for us or even reveal to us. It is hidden in the depths of our heart and our spirit; it is our share in the life and glory of God. In our time, in our world, how is God to bring us to that place where, even as we are surrounded not merely, as Jesus, by our friends but also by our virtual relationships, we can learn how to respond uniquely and responsibly to our call? How do we enter the place of true solitude where there is, finally, only God and ourselves and where the glory of God requires our personal, while tremulous, assent to what we have been given to do?
May these coming days of Holy Week allow us to stand alone and silently in humility and truth before the God who has given us life for our sake and the sake of the world. May we experience the depth of our responsibility for our lives, a responsibility that is ours alone.
At every moment you choose yourself. But do you choose your self? Body and soul contain a thousand possibilities out of which you can build many I’s. But in only one of them is there a congruence of the elector and the elected. Only one — which you will never find until you have excluded all those superficial and fleeting possibilities of being and doing with which you toy, out of curiosity or wonder or greed, and which hinder you from casting anchor in the experience of the mystery of life, and the consciousness of the talent entrusted to you which is your I.
Dag Hammarskjold, Markings, p. 8