Meditation: What can a grain of wheat tell us about life
and the kingdom of God? Jesus drew his parables from the
common everyday circumstances of life. His audience, mostly rural
folk in Palestine, could easily understand the principle of new
life produced by dead seeds sown into the earth. What is the
spiritual analogy which Jesus alludes to? Is this, perhaps, a
veiled reference to his own impending death on the cross and his
resurrection on the third day? Or does he have another kind of
"death and rebirth" in mind for his disciples? Jesus, no doubt,
had both meanings in mind for his disciples.
The image of the grain of wheat dying in the earth in order to grow and bear a harvest can be seen as a metaphor of Jesus' own death and burial in the tomb and his resurrection. Jesus knew that the only way to victory over the power of sin and death was through the cross. Jesus reversed the curse of our first parents' [Adam and Eve] disobedience through his obedience to the Father's will - his willingness to go to the cross to pay the just penalty for our sins and to defeat death once and for all. His obedience and death on the cross obtain for us freedom and new life in the Holy Spirit. His cross frees us from the tyranny of sin and death and shows us the way of perfect love. There is a great paradox here. Death leads to life. When we "die" to our selves, we "rise" to new life in Jesus Christ.
What does it mean to "die" to oneself? It certainly means that
what is contrary to God's will must be "crucified" or "put to
death". God gives us grace to say "yes" to his will and to reject
whatever is contrary to his loving plan for our lives. Jesus also
promises that we will bear much "fruit" for him, if we choose to
deny ourselves for his sake. Jesus used forceful language to
describe the kind of self-denial he had in mind for his disciples.
What did he mean when he said that one must hate himself? The expression to hate something often meant to prefer less. Jesus says that nothing should get in the way of our preferring him and the will of our Father in heaven. Our hope is in Paul's reminder that "What is sown in the earth is subject to decay, what rises is incorruptible" (1 Corinthians 15:42). Do you hope in the Lord and follow joyfully the path he has chosen for you?
"Lord Jesus, let me be wheat sown in the earth, to be harvested for you. I want to follow wherever you lead me. Give me fresh hope and joy in serving you all the days of my life."
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/