+Fr. Panayiotis Hasiakos, St. Demetrios - Chicago, IL | May 26, 2020
In today’s reading from the Gospel according to John, Christ’s most intimate thoughts and prayers are revealed to us. He says, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’” (Jn 12:27) These words are instructive for us, both in general and especially now during the difficult times we are experiencing.
When we think of the lives of the saints, we are often inspired by their deep prayer and the spiritual peace that they exude to everyone around them. At the same time, we must not forget that the saints faced intense struggles, which they endured with a brave spirit and unwavering trust in the Lord. Christ Himself exemplifies this for us when He says, “Now is my soul troubled.” These words are included intentionally; they are there to teach us that spiritual turbulence is part of our Christian life. Not even our Lord was exempt from this turbulence. Christ says that He will by no means ask the Father to “save Him from this hour,” that is, to take Him away from the road leading to Golgotha. He continues, “No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.” Our Lord reminds us that the Cross is at the very center of the Gospel. To ask for the Cross to be removed from the Gospel means to ask for the story to remain unfinished and unfulfilled. Our Lord does not pray for this, but instead He accepts Crucifixion willingly so that He can utter His final words, “It is finished.” (Jn 19:30)
Each of us has a cross that is at the center of the story of his or her life, which is being written little by little each day. When we encounter a cross, and we feel that “now my soul is troubled,” how will we respond? Will we follow the example of our Lord? Instead of asking God to give us a life free from crosses, let us learn to ask Him for the strength to endure them. When we take this route, we allow God to complete our story, which with Christ always ends in Resurrection and eternal joy. May He give us each day the strength to continue our course, through the intercessions of the Mother of God and of all the saints. Amen.