In Graham Greene’s novels, “The Power and the Glory” the unlikely hero is a priest. He is caught by the revolutionary Mexican government and condemned to be shot. On the night before his execution, he sits in his cell and thinks back over his life.
Most of us have a natural aversion to spiders. Rather than marvel at a delicately woven web in the corner of a room, we cannot wait to destroy it. The spider dangling from the ceiling does not evoke amazement in us at his feat, he disgusts us or even causes fear. But spiders have a lesson for us.
Carole King wrote some lyrics in a song that could be applied to our Gospel of the Good Shepherd: “Looking out on the morning rain, I used to feel so uninspired. And when I knew I had to face another day, Lord, it made me feel so tired. And when my soul was in the lost and found, you came along to claim it…”
Many years ago there was a movie called the “Seventh Seal.” In one scene, death takes the form of a human person and appears to a man. A conversation followed: The man said to Death, “Why does God hide Himself? Why doesn’t He reveal Himself? Why doesn’t God stretch out His hand and touch us? Why doesn’t He at least say something to us?”
We hear in our Gospel today about some people who have come to Jerusalem for the Passover. They have heard about this miracle worker, Jesus, so they approach a friend of His, Philip, and they make a request: “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”
Our second reading today is, perhaps, the highpoint of Christian literature. Paul tells us that the crucified one is the stumbling block, the absurdity for the unbeliever.