Monday, August 10, 2015

Reflection: John 12:24-26

Monday of the 19th Week in Ordinary Time – John 12:24-26

The Gospel for today is the familiar passage on the grain of wheat. Jesus tells his disciples: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it simply will remain a grain. It will not produce any wheat!” The grain is essential. However, the process of being put into the ground and dying to its current state is what allows the grain to become much more than its present form. The grain has the great potential to grow, flourish, become food and nourish many people. However, if it remains in its current state, it will never produce any fruit.

Jesus then goes on to talk about human beings. In a sense, we also are a grain of wheat that has much potential to grow and produce food that will nurture other human beings. However, we also have to “die to ourselves” so that we also may bear fruit. Jesus says we have to “lose” our lives. However, the fruit we will bear in this process will be phenomenal. And we are promised eternal life!

The process of dying to anything is not easy. It often is painful, sad and bewildering. Our lives change in this process and so do we. However, Jesus promises that through our dying, we will bear fruit. However, do we trust and believe Jesus’ promise? The reality is that we “die” many times throughout our lifetime. It may be a loss of a child, letting go of a dream or being seriously ill.

Take a moment and remember a time of “dying” in your life, be that the death of a loved one, loss of a job, financial difficulties or a serious illness. After some time passed, did you realize that there were also some gifts you received during that painful time? Perhaps the family bonds were strengthened in the process. Or maybe you began to appreciate the concern and care your neighbors or co-workers expressed to you. Or perhaps this difficult experience forced you to turn to God for the grace and strength you needed and God was there for you.

The gift is that often long after the “death” and our acceptance of the loss, we may realize that new life is emerging. And thus, we can continue on with the promise of hope and joy.

Today I invite you to look back on your life. Remember the many times you have “died.” Then remember the beckoning of new life that invited you to love once again, laugh again and be joyful once again. Truly, there is life after death — even on this planet. We don’t have to wait for the “hereafter.” God gifts us with new life every day! Be attentive to it! Look for it! Expect it!

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