Glorifying God: A Maryknoll Reflection
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By Joseph Heim, M.M.

Sunday, May 21, 2023
Acts 1:12-14 | 1 Pt 4:13-16 | Jn 17:1-11a

“Father, the hour has come, give glory to your son so that your son may glorify you.”

“Glory.” What does that mean? It seems so other-worldly. But, maybe not.

Father Francisco Amor worked near us in Venezuela. He had returned to Spain when he heard his father was very ill. When he got back from Spain, he told us an amazing story. His father had been the sacristan in the local parish – and you wonder how he fed seven children with that salary. But they never wanted. In fact, his father often invited a beggar to share a meal.

As Father Amor’s father lay dying, he called for each of his children and gave them advice and counsel. Next, he called for the local town leaders and reminded them of what still had to be done in that part of town. Then he asked his children to come back, gave them a blessing, crossed his arms and gave up his spirit to the Lord.

His entire life had been giving glory to God by the way he lived; he shared his family’s food with a poor beggar, yet his children never knew hunger.

Unfortunately, when we hear the word “glory” we immediately think of the movie star who has just won an Oscar, the scientist who was awarded the Nobel Prize, or, of course, the billionaire relaxing in his private jet. Or perhaps winners of the World Series ring. But that glory dims like the rays of the setting sun.

Jesus was speaking of something else when he said: “give glory to your son so that your son my glorify you.” Actually, the word “glorify” simply means to make known. Jesus wants to make the Father known. By the simplicity of his life, by the generous sharing of his meager means, by his lived commitment to his community, old Señor Amor spent a lifetime glorifying God.

Maryknoll Father Joseph Heim, who served in Venezuela, is author of What They Taught Us: How Maryknoll Missioners Were Evangelized by the Poor, published by Orbis Books.

To read other Scripture reflections published by the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, click here.

Featured image: The silhouette of a parent holding a child is shown. A Maryknoll missioner shares a mission story about parenting in response to the question of what it truly means to glorify God. (Ante Hamersmit, Unsplash)

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Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, based in Washington, D.C., is a resource for Maryknoll on matters of peace, social justice and integrity of creation, and brings Maryknoll’s mission experience into U.S. policy discussions. Visit