Dying to Live Abundantly

John 12: 24-26
2 Cor 9:6-10 / Ps 112: 1-2, 5-9

Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
(John 12:24)

The harvest came at such sacrifice:
God’s Firstborn had to be crucified;
Let us follow our Lord Jesus Christ,
Through His cross we will be glorified.

Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.” (John 12: 24-26)

Reflection

Our Lord was referring to Himself as the grain of wheat that had to die in order to yield a bountiful harvest. But death was for Him a time “to be glorified” (Jn. 12:23), it meant the accomplishment of His mission.

In much the same way, Jesus means for us to reap a bountiful harvest for ourselves not in this life but in the next. And yet it is also in this life where we must work to produce a rich harvest for the Lord and His kingdom. Even if it means “giving up our life” in the effort. To “give up our life” does not necessarily mean to die as He did for us. It only means to become detached from the materialism of this world so that we can give up living for ourselves for the sake of others. As St. Paul pointed out in the first reading: “Whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.. God loves a cheerful giver… (He) will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness” (2Cor. 9:6b,7b,10).

To “hate their life in this world to keep it for eternal life” means to kneel humbly in service, as our Lord knelt to wash the feet of His apostles at the Last Supper. It means to forgive our enemies, not only seven times, but as many times as our Master Himself showed us when He forgave all His torturers in the house of Pilate, and in the hill of Calvary. And as He has forgiven us of all our sins.

Our Lord knows it is not easy to give up the good life that we have been used to, and follow Him on the road less travelled. But as He reminded us time and again in the Gospel readings, “do not store up treasure for yourselves here on earth, where moth and rust destroy…” (Mt.6:19); “set your heart first on the kingdom and justice of God…(6:33). Thus, if we persevere, we will bear much fruit, fruit that will last, and everything we ask the Father in His name will be given to us (John.15:16).

Lord God, as we take on the tasks that You have given us in the service of our community, we pray for the joy of Your Holy Spirit to lighten our hearts so that no fear of failure will weaken our resolve. Thank you for making us understand that it is only by dying to all our selfish inclinations and desires that we can truly be happy in committing our lives to You. Amen.

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