Jesus said to his disciples, “Amen, amen, I say to you, 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.” (Jn 12:24)
As a boy, I would watch my dad plant seeds in the rich soil of my home state Wisconsin. He had been a dairy farmer earlier in life, something he loved, and gardening kept him close to the earth. I noticed that as he walked the straight rows he had tilled and threw a few seeds into the ground at a predetermined point, he would then cover the seeds with a mound of soil and press his foot firmly downward. The seed had to be crushed; the life within could only be released in the violent act of being broken.
Today’s gospel is focused on the Lord’s “hour,” when he will lay down his life to accomplish the great deed of redemption. It is the story, too, of every martyr who, like Lawrence, willingly died in witness to Christ in order to take it up anew in the glory of the resurrection. It is our story as well.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrote: “Wheat has to pass through the rigors of winter, be ground beneath the Calvary of a mill, and then subjected to purging fire before it can become bread. Grapes, in their turn, must be subjected to the Gethsemane of a wine press and have their life crushed for them to become wine. Thus, do they symbolize the passion and sufferings of Christ, and the condition of salvation, for our Lord said unless we die to ourselves, we cannot live in him.”
What in you must die for abundant life to be born?
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus, you died for us. Help me to live this day totally for you. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)