Early Church Fathers
John XIII. 31, 32
1. Let us give our mind's best attention, and, with the Lord's help, seek after God. The language of the divine hymn is: "Seek God and your soul shall live."1 Let us search for that which needs to be discovered, and into that which has been discovered. He whom we need to discover is concealed, in order to be sought after; and when found, is infinite, in order still to be the object of our search. Hence it is elsewhere said, "Seek His face evermore."2 For He satisfies the seeker to the utmost of his capacity; and makes the finder still more capable, that he may seek to be filled anew, according to the growth of his ability to receive. Therefore it was not said, "Seek His face evermore," in the same sense as of certain others, who are "always learning, and never coming to a knowledge of the truth;"3 but rather as the preacher saith, "When a man hath finished, then he beginneth;"4 till we reach that life where we shall be so filled, that our natures shall attain their utmost capacity, because we shall have arrived at perfection, and no longer be aiming at more. For then all that can satisfy us will be revealed to our eyes. But here let us always be seeking, and let our reward in finding put no endto our searching. For we do not say that it will not be so always, because it is only so here; but that here we must always be seeking, lest at any time we should imagine that here we can ever cease from seeking. For those of whom it is said that they are "always learning, and never coming to a knowledge of the truth." are here indeed always learning; but when they depart this life they will no longer be learning, but receiving the reward of their error. For the words, "always learning, and never coming to a knowledge of the truth," mean, as it were, always walking, and never getting into the road. Let us, on the other hand, be walking always in the way, till we reach the end to which it leads; let us nowhere tarry in it till we reach the proper place of abode: and so we shall both persevere in our seeking, and be making some attainments in our finding, and, thus seeking and finding, be passing on to that which remains, till the very end of all seeking shall be reached in that world where perfection shall admit of no further effort at advancement. Let these prefatory remarks, dearly beloved, make your Charity attentive to this discourse of our Lord's, which He addressed to the disciples before His passion: for it is profound in itself; and where, in particular, the preacher purposes to expend much labor, the hearer ought not to be remiss in attention.
2. What is it, then, that the Lord says, after that Judas went out, to do quickly what he purposed doing, namely, betraying the Lord? What says the day when the night had gone out? What says the Redeemer when the seller had departed? "Now," He says, "is the Son of man glorified." Why "now"? It was not, was it, merely that His betrayer was gone out, and that those were at hand who were to seize and slay Him? Is it thus that He "is now glorified," to wit, that His deeper humiliation is approaching; that over Him are impending both bonds, and judgment, and condemnation, and mocking, and crucifixion, and death? Is this glorification, or rather humiliation? Even when He was working miracles, does not this very John say of Him, "The Spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified"?5 Even then, therefore, when He was raising the dead, He was not yet glorified; and is He glorified now, when drawing near in His own person unto death? He was not yet glorified when acting as God, and is He glorified in going to suffer as man? It would be strange if it were this that God, the great Master, signified and taught in such words. We must ascend higher to unveil the words of the Highest, who reveals Himself somewhat that we may find Him, and anon hides Himself that we may seek Him, and so press on step by step, as it were, from discoveries already made to those that still await us. I get here a sight of something that prefigures a great reality. Judas went out, and Jesus is glorified; the son of perdition went out, and the Son of man is glorified. He it was that had gone out, on whose account it had been said to them all, "And ye are clean, but not all" (ver. 10). When, therefore, the unclean one departed, all that remained were clean, and continued with their Cleanser. Something like this will it be when this world shall have been conquered by Christ, and shall have passed away, and there shall be no one that is unclean remaining among His people; when, the tares having been separated from the wheat, the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.6 The Lord, foreseeing such a future as this, and in testimony that such was signified now in the separation of the tares, as it were, by the departure of Judas, and the remaining behind of the wheat in the persons of the holy apostles, said, "Now is the Son of man glorified:" as if He had said, See, so will it be in that day of my glorification yet to come, when none of the wicked shall be present, and none of the good shall be wanting. His words, however, are not expressed in this way: Now is prefigured the glorification of the Son of man; but expressly, "Now is the Son of man glorified:" just as it was not said, The Rock signified Christ; but, "That Rock was Christ."7 Nor is it said, The good seed signified the children of the kingdom, or, The tares signified the children of the wicked one; but what is said is, "The good seed, these are the children of the kingdom; and the tares, the children of the wicked one."8 According, then, to the usage of Scripture language, which speaks of the signs as if they were the things signified, the Lord makes use of the words, "Now is the Son of man glorified;" indicating that in the completed separation of that arch sinner from their company, and in the remaining around Him of His saints, we have the foreshadowing of His glorification, when the wicked shall be finally separated, and He shall dwell with His saints through eternity.
3. But after saying, "Now is the Son of man glorified," He added, "and God is glorified in Him." For this is itself the glorifying of the Son of man, that God should be glorified in Him. For if He is not glorified in Himself, but God in Him, then it is He whom God glorifies in Himself. And just as if to give them this explanation, He furthers adds: "If God is glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself." That is, "If God is glorified in Him," because He came not to do His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him; "and God shall glorify Him in Himself," in such wise that the human nature, in which He is the Son of man, and which was so assumed by the eternal Word, should also be endowed with an eternal immortality. "And," He says, "He shall straightway glorify Him;" predicting, to wit, by such an asseveration, His own resurrection in the immediate future, and not, as it were, ours in the end of the world. For it is this very glorification of which the evangelist had previously said, as I mentioned a little ago, that on this account the Spirit was not yet in their case given in that new way, in which He was yet to be given after the resurrection to those who believed, because that Jesus was not yet glorified: that is, mortality was not yet clothed with immortality, and temporal weakness transformed into eternal strength. This glorification may also be indicated in the words, "Now is the Son of man glorified;" so that the word "now" may be supposed to refer, not to His impending passion, but to His closely succeeding resurrection, as if what was now so near at hand had actually been accomplished. Let this suffice your affection to-day; we shall take up, when the Lord permits us, the words that follow.