Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fifth Sunday of Lent

John 12:20-33

In our Gospel reading today we hear the words: “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.” I can’t speak for everyone, but I have (had) no idea how this works. I couldn’t see how if something dies, it would bear fruit. Dead things do not do good – the suburbanite in me was perplexed. So, I did what any self-respecting young adult would do – I googled “how wheat grows.” And my response was typical of my net surfing, “oh, cool.” Cool indeed.

One grain, buried under the earth, unseen by all, gives way to the fragile life within it. The exterior falls away and one single stalk bursts from within and makes its ascent toward heaven. Nourished by the soil, sun, and water this single stalk comes to one single head – full of seeds. When these seeds are pollinated and fertile, ready to bear new life, the wheat stalk begins to die. Once all dried out, the seeds can be harvested…. And the process goes on.

The wonder of Jesus is that once we get His imagery, it takes almost no imagination to see where we might fit into this picture. Times of feeling buried, unseen, and fragile find meaning when set in the context of growth and maturing. Reaching for the heavens we seek our final end, our nourishment, and our hope. Trusting in the providence of God, our single gift of self can bear much fruit if we are willing to give ourselves to our mission – the bearing of Christian life wherever we go. And, suddenly, my own feelings of fragility and limitedness fall away and the life of Christ in me finds expression in the light of the Gospel.

Blessings to you this Lent. May the simple wonders of God’s creation bring you a renewed appreciation for His care and conviction of our profound and simple mission within this same creation!

Jillian Cooke
Fr. Kolbe Missionaries of the Immaculata
West Covina

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