March 21, 2021
In our life, there are many losses, many “deaths”. They are especially hard because we can’t see the big picture. Jesus reveals the big picture and our Father’s eternal plans for us through the power of abandonment.
- Jesus ask us to be like the grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies so that we will abandon ourselves to God and bear much fruit.
- Jesus wants to show us the difference in how we see things with our limited view compared to how God sees the fullness and truth of our journey.
- By us dying, fully surrendering ourselves to God, is actually opening ourselves up to being fruitful and letting God bring forth a fruitfulness from our lives.
- Jesus’s greatest period of productivity was when He surrendered Himself and died. His fruitfulness is still going on today.
- Our greatest fruitfulness comes after our surrender, after our death, after our entry into eternal life.
- Abandonment lets God Himself work through us and in us, to exalt us and glorify us.
“Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Jesus invited us to put ourselves in a position of that little grain of wheat. What we see as dying is loss in our very limited vision. What God is showing us is the difference between how we see things with our very limited view and how God sees things when He can see the fullness of the picture, the big picture, He can see the truth.
So, the key to this passage today is the act of abandonment, like the grain of wheat. Abandonment lets God Himself work through us and in us. God wants to do this. He wants to exalt you, He wants to glorify you. He wants to bring forth from your life so much more fruitfulness than you can even imagine, way beyond what you could imagine. He wants to give you the joy for all eternity of an abundant fruitfulness; and yet, at the same time, He respects our freedom. Each one of us has to accept this act of abandonment of entrusting ourselves, like Jesus, into the arms of the Father.
“Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.” What does the Holy Spirit want to say to us through these simple words, that which have a mystery, a divine mystery, which has the potential, if we accept it, to be life changing? Jesus invited us to put ourselves in a position of that little grain of wheat, so let’s imagine ourselves as that grain of wheat. As it becomes aware, it finds itself this very little, small grain, hidden down in the leaf sheath. But then gradually, it begins to emerge, growing up, filling out and begins to surpass the leaves, becomes higher than all the leaves full of full grain, elevated, proud, changing color as it gradually becomes golden. Being able to soak up the sun, swaying with the breeze, and maybe thinking, I’m doing very well, this is going good. I’m going to keep growing and growing, getting bigger, higher. But then at some point, it stops growing. And then suddenly, one day without warning, it falls down, down, down, losing its height, losing the sunshine in the wind, falls onto the ground, where it doesn’t remember ever being there, buried now in the depths in the darkness. And how traumatic this would be for the grain. And it sees all around that the same thing is happening to the others. It’s like the end of the world. And then at some point, there’s rain that falls, and with the rain, something new begins to happen inside of it. It begins to soften, it begins to swell, something begins moving inside of it, something begins to push forth from its shell. It has been emptied, and that was probably a very frightening experience for us because it’s losing its smooth beauty, its strength, its firmness, its solidity, its whole character, its dying, and gradually a little bud, first white and then green begins to emerge, and the seed is disappearing. But from this grain, from the seed, now can come many more grains, much fruit. Again, Jesus is inviting us to put ourselves in a perspective of the grain. And we see how different, you know when we think of the grain of wheat, it doesn’t seem like we know the cycle doesn’t seem it just that ordinary cycle to us, because we see the big picture. But as that grain has grown up, it doesn’t see the big picture. It’s very limited in what it can see. So it’s a very traumatic, frightening experience for us. And I think Jesus is inviting us in this simple comparison, what He’s showing us is the difference between how we see things with our very limited view and how God sees things, when He can see the fullness of the picture, the big picture, He can see the truth. What we see as dying as losses in our very limited vision. We know dying can sometimes happen suddenly. Sometimes it’s a long process, as a person gradually gets weaker, begins to lose their abilities and their positions. And there’s not just physical dying, but there’s other types of dying, of having to let go, of losing so much. Sometimes this happens just at the very end of a person’s life, but sometimes it begins happening much earlier, and that’s so hard for experience so frightening, so difficult for us. But what this simple comparison is showing us is that it’s actually an opportunity, an opportunity to surrender, to abandon ourselves to God, to give up our little human control. Even Jesus on the cross, said, “Father, into Your hands, I commend My spirit,” surrendering Himself, abandoning Himself, to the arms of the Father. And so this experience, of what we call dying, actually, is opening us to something new. It’s not just about being productive in the sense of getting things done using our human abilities to get things done, but it’s about something much greater, about being fruitful, letting God Himself bring forth a fruitfulness from our life. The second reading speaks of Jesus saying, “Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered. And when He was made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.” That is, the greatest period of Jesus productivity, of His fruitfulness, was not in His very act of three years of ministry, but it was when He surrendered Himself, when He died, His dying opened up an infinite fruitfulness to His life, that’s still going on today. And that’s the sign for all of us. It’s not a fruitfulness that we can bring about by our human abilities, but it’s the fruitfulness of what our deepest heart and soul that God Himself can bring forth. That’s why Jesus said in the Gospel today, “He who loves his life, loses it”, trying to hold on to our life here. But He says “he who hates his life in this world,” he who hates his life in this world. What He is showing us is that we have a life, which is not the life in this world, we have a better life. And so that’s why St. Paul says “I longed to leave this life and go to be with the Lord.” So Jesus goes on say, “he who hates his life, and in this world, will keep it for eternal life.” That there’s something much, much, greater than our life here on earth. And of course, we’ve heard that many times, but how often we forget about it. How often we live as if this life is the most important thing, and eternal life is maybe a little thing that comes attached on at the end. We think dying is destroying our hope for fruitfulness, but it is actually opening up to an eternal fruitfulness, of letting the Holy Spirit Himself work through us. And think again, that was Jesus own Jesus as man It was when He accepted to surrender His abilities, to do anything to go anywhere, to let him Himself be nailed to the cross, and then dying, giving up His human abilities, that’s when the Holy Spirit could be poured out, the act of the Holy Spirit, which came from Jesus surrendering Himself. And that’s the path that Jesus has for each one of us, “Follow Me,” follow Him. And so He’s inviting each one of us to realize that the greatest fruitfulness of our life is what comes after our surrender, after our death, after our entry into eternal life. So many people right now, maybe so many of us, are experiencing a lot of losses. The death maybe of people we love, but also so many other types of death and losses, in our own lives, in our society, in the Church, and it’s very discouraging. It feels very sad, but if we entrust ourselves to the Lord, these very losses can become an opportunity for fruitfulness, for a new life. So I think that the key to this passage today is the act of abandonment, like the grain of wheat. Abandonment lets God Himself work through us, and in us. God wants to do this. He wants to exalt you, He wants to glorify you. He wants to bring forth from your life, so much more fruitfulness that you can even imagine, way beyond what you could imagine. He wants to give you the joy for all eternity, of an abundant fruitfulness, and yet, at the same time, He respects our freedom. Each one of us has to accept this act of abandonment of entrusting ourselves, like Jesus, into the arms of the Father. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless that grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.” That doesn’t make sense to us. Our human thought is that it’s by doing all this stuff that we can bear much fruit, but Jesus says, if it dies, if it surrenders itself, to the arms of the Father, if it lets God act through it. So in summary, in our life, there are many losses, many deaths. They are especially hard because we can’t see the big picture. Jesus reveals the big picture, the power of abandonment, taking us beyond the limits of what we see, what we understand, what we can do ourselves. And so in this Mass, with Jesus, with Mary, with St. Joseph, especially in the offertory, which is coming up in a few moments, it’s an opportunity for us to make an act of abandonment, of surrender into the arms of the Father. “Father into your hands, I commend my spirit”, so that the Holy Spirit can help us bear much fruit. Think that it’s so much to not limit ourselves to this life. This life is only this difficult, but very brief beginning, and then comes the fullness of life. And especially this prepares the fullness of life in which, if we’ve surrender ourselves to God, we will continue bearing fruit beyond our imagining, forever and ever. Amen.