The reading we are invited to contemplate together is John 12:20-36. In this passage Christ pronounces one of his most mysterious predictions. Soon he will be arrested, make his sacrifice and give humanity a future.
So it is, I find, with all sacrifices. Whenever we give a bit of ourselves to help a loved one, to raise a child, to assist those in need, do we not sacrifice the present for the future? Do we not have faith that the future we sacrifice for will be better somehow? The promise of Salvation is programmed into every act of kindness.
Then there are those for whom sacrificing for others is a life-long job. To pick a relevant example, let's take a minute to think of our doctors, nurses and health care professionals. Where do we see the Promise of Salvation if not in them? Every day these people overcome the fear of sickness and death so that the rest of us may live and be healthy. They are invited to sacrifice for others daily. And, indeed, their efforts are saving lives and, no doubt, will succeed. In them, the progress of Salvation is before our eyes.
Indeed, we are all compelled to make sacrifices these days. We must amend old habits, say "no" to habitual activities and confine ourselves away from those we hold dear. My only wish today is to share my hope that these sacrifices will not be made in vain, but do, in fact, have a great future. Who can measure what effect an individual act of selflessness may carry, which act of kindness will contribute to the Renewal of the World. Could it be all of them? No way to know for sure. What we do know is that after a time of hardship renewal does come. After this time of isolation that feels so appropriate to Holy Week, we will come together again to worship together. We do not know when this will happen, but we do know it will! And what a great day it will be! The song I wanted to share with you today is "Urlicht" ("First Light") from the "Resurrection Symphony" by Gustav Mahler. The text can be translated as follows:
O little red rose,
Man lies in greatest need,
Man lies in greatest pain.
Ever would I prefer to be in heaven.
Once I came upon a wide road,
There stood an Angel who wanted to turn me away.
But no, I will not be turned away!
I came from God, and will return to God,
The loving God who will give me a little light,
To lighten my way up to eternal, blessed life!
I hope you are well, my friends!
Please stay inside, and we will see each other soon!