As the Lenten season wanes, we hear Jesus instruct His followers on the need to make choices for life – or death
Reflections on the readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent (March 21, 2021): JER 31:31-34; PS 51:3-4,12-13,14-15; HEB 5:7-9; JN 12:20-33
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
A simple grain of wheat becomes a sign of what will happen to Christ – covered up under the earth it would appear to be lost, dead. Instead, it is transformed.
In the Gospel reading today, we listen to Jesus as He preaches not only to His Jewish disciples but also to some Greeks who have heard about Him and make a special effort to see Him. Our Lord knows that His days on earth are numbered. The hour when He will be glorified through His death and Resurrection is near. So He gives the crowd a beautiful message that speaks of life and death and eternity. “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. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life” (John 12:24-25).
A simple grain of wheat becomes a sign of what will happen to Christ – covered up under the earth it would appear to be lost, dead. Instead, it is transformed. It thrives and shoots up as a vibrant stalk bearing fruit – the Bread of Life. Yet Jesus does not stop there. He needs His beloved followers to realize that they can not only have the gift of everlasting life for themselves, but also go on to share it with others as well. But first, we – all of us – need to turn away from the selfish love of our own pleasure and our own plans that can too often lead to sin. Rather, we must decide to walk in the way of Christ. We do this by accepting the will of the Father, the sacrifice of the Son, and the grace of the Holy Spirit. Then, and only then, we prove ourselves to be true disciples of Christ. It is a worldly, self-centered, narrow life that we must reject. Willingly and joyfully, we need to embrace the life of light and love that God offers us. Then we will become the holy, happy children of God who He always wanted us to be, both on earth and in heaven.
Suggested missionary action: Let us take some time during these last weeks of Lent to examine our lives – who we are, what we want, and where we are going. Let us ask God to help us embrace the life He knows will lead to our true welfare.
Give with heart this Lent. Put resources in the hands of missionaries in the Pope’s missions who are serving the poor and battling COVID-19.