John 12: 24-26
2 Cor 9: 6-10 / Psa 112
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12: 26)
To be the seeds that Christ has sown
Means dying to our comfort zone,
Dying to pleasures we have known,
And living for God’s Word alone.
Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life will lose it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (John 12: 24-26)
To “hate his life in this world” does not necessarily mean to abandon our career, family or responsibilities. It only means to become detached from the materialism of this world; to set aside the pursuit of fame or fortune, which no longer takes any precedence; and to give up living for ourselves for the sake of others, in imitation of our Lord, Jesus Christ. This is exemplified in the life of St. Lawrence of Rome, whose martyrdom our Church celebrates on this day. He served the least fortunate to the point of giving up his life for them. He was indeed the single seed whose death spawned a thousand seeds of conversion among the pagans in Rome because of his great faith in Christ Jesus and courage in being roasted on a gridiron.
To die for Jesus also means to go to great lengths in giving witness to the Good News of God’s kingdom to others in obedience to the call of mission. When our Area Managing Director and good friend asked us if we could share our life testimony in one of their breakfast meetings in Cagayan de Oro city, we saw it as another “call” from the Lord, and accepted the invitation, albeit with a little trepidation because of the great distance we would have to negotiate on roads less travelled. The farthest distance our 8-year old Honda City had gone to was General Santos city, barely half the distance compared to Cagayan de Oro, with better road conditions. I was also hesitant because of a recurring back ache which might give me a problem with the six-hour long drive. But we put our faith (as usual) in the power of prayers, and so we simply asked our readers to pray for our safe travel. Thank God for the prayers, we had a safe, trouble-free and comfortable trip to and from Cagayan de Oro city. It seemed as if I was driving a brand new car, plus our stamina and enthusiasm surprised this couple of senior citizens! The Lord had truly blessed us with a fruitful mission, as evidenced by the love and appreciation shown to us by our brothers and sisters in the East Cagayan de Oro Chapter.
In today’s first reading, St. Paul said, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Cor 9:6). In our service to God and to others, we have learned that when we give of ourselves unsparingly, God will grant all that we ask for, and even add a little bonus. But lest we forget, it is not in this life that our Lord means for us to reap a bountiful harvest but in the next. This is the hope that sustains our faith, and what is worth dying for.
Dear Lord, embolden our hearts so that no fear of danger will weaken our resolve to serve You. Thank You for making us understand that it is only by dying to all our selfish desires that we can truly commit our lives to You. Thank You for giving us this wonderful life in the renewal, where we have found the true meaning of Life in Jesus Christ. Amen.
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