Memorial of St. Philip Neri, priest
(Acts 20:17-27; John 17:1-11a)
Ten years ago a movie related the saga of an all-black (except for officers) regiment during the Civil War. The unit overcomes external prejudice and internal fear to become a crack fighting force. The last scene shows the courageous soldiers going into their final battle where they will be killed fighting not only for their country but for the freedom of their people. The movie was titled “Glory” because the men give their lives for a cause much bigger than individual happiness.
In the gospel Jesus speaks of the glory he intends to achieve by doing his Father’s will. That will, of course, is no less than the redemption of humanity through Jesus’ death on the cross. The world has never before seen such self-sacrifice because Jesus himself has no part in the sin which demands his life for expiation. However, there is a link between the glory won by soldiers dying for their country and that of Jesus giving himself over to crucifixion. In as much as the soldiers transcend the pitfalls of war – hatred, brutality, pride, and licentiousness – to serve both God and country, the glory they achieve reflects and, indeed, adds to the glory Jesus attains in his death and resurrection.