The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father.
Reading the Gospel of Saint John we often hear about the coming hour. In the second chapter of the Gospel, at Cana, Jesus spoke cryptically to his mother, "My hour has not yet come." Apparently she knew what he meant though his disciples and others standing by could not.
Several times, as the story advances, we hear that they tried to arrest Jesus but his hour had not yet come. Clearly there is a Higher Power in charge here who has much authority about what happens and when. Jesus knows that Authority and respects it, though he does not command or control it.
Finally, after Jesus has called Lazarus out of the tomb and spies have brought the news to Jerusalem, Jesus announces, "The Hour has come." That phrase too appears in various forms -- as in today's gospel -- before we get to the final: "From that hour the disciple took her into his home."
(With the very handy Oremus Bible Browser, you can explore the 20 appearances of hour in the Gospel of John and get a better feel for its significance.)
In today's Gospel, the word appears for the seventeenth time, with all the more drama and promise. Words and figures are failing Jesus; he must speak to them in another language without words. He has already washed their feet; he will pray to The Father, allowing them to overhear him. Finally he will go to the rendezvous with Judas and the soldiers and guards.
There are no words for what they must learn. There is only the sacrifice on the altar of the cross. With that he will fulfill the promise to "tell you clearly about the Father."