5th Sunday of Lent / B / 2009
Here are some stones I have overturned to see what ideas are underneath. I hope you can grab hold of something, pull — and discover that it has some homiletic roots for you.
Unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.
The gospel this week is filled with wonderful themes and it may be difficult to choose; however, I have chosen the above passage to focus on.
The image of a wheat grain, its death, and its fruitfulness is oftentimes paralleled with bodily death and the resurrection — especially considering the passage that immediately follows it:
Anyone who loves his life loses it, and anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life.
However, the choice to deny oneself in this life is a death of sorts and the fruit this can produce to FEED OTHERS is a beautiful thing to behold.
(Example: dare to be different with others/baptism). Even born and grown not in the Christian family, they sent me to Primary – Secondary schools run by certain religious order (70-72). It took me 2 years to be baptized, so before I left my loved ones, they had abandoned me as they said that I was indifferent before them. I know that we are still united in the words of ‘ALLAH’-Abba-Father who loves so much His children. If 37 years ago I wasn’t baptized as a Catholic, I am pretty sure that I wouldn’t be standing before you now.
1. Unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.
2. Anyone who loves his life loses it, and anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life.
· How often do we think in these verses?
· How often do we ask ourselves: How do I feed others with the fruit that I yield through my choices to deny myself and love others?
· How do my sacrifices produce lasting fruit in this world? Do I see my NO is yielding YES in the lives of others?
· Do I understand that a wheat grain dies and grows not so, it can go through a miserable, painful change; but rather so that it produces fruit — fruit to be enjoyed, shared, and given to nourish our sisters and brothers around us?
We have all felt this trade-off in our own lives. It is no mystery. We have all traded-off immediate; but fleeting rewards for lasting and long term fruitfulness.
This is observed in parenthood all of the time — where parents do without, so that their children have a better life than they had or more opportunities. I saw that in my own family where my father spent his life planting ubi/singkong/tapioca, and where my mother sold candies, biscuits, drinks in the movie house so hard in nursing homes and to make sure my siblings and I had great advantages in life. Yes, I have, in fact I am happy with my life as a priest.
You have denied yourself and have done the will of God by caring for an elderly parent who in their old age need the constant care you once deeded as a baby.
You have endured the hardships of supporting that family member or friend in his or her struggle with whatever addiction: such as gambling, drinking, drug etc. You have put up with the cycle of victory and defeats, ups and downs because of the command of Jesus to love.
Or the way you are dealing with that addiction yourself and digging in and trying to walk the straight line.
You are a teenager and you are determined to live a life of virtue and chastity when it seems to you that no one else is. And you think you may pay a price for that.
You will sacrifice popularity and hanging with the crowd that calls themselves “cool”.
You have devoted what seems to be your entire life to caring for that physically or mentally challenged child because it is simply the right thing to do and you do it out of love.
You have lost a child or your spouse and not a day goes by that you do not think of that person you have lost, but you find the strength to stand up and carry on and continue being a giving person when you feel that everything in life has been taken from you.
You have carried around a hurt so deep and so stinging for years and even decades and you have never spoken about it to another soul and there have been times that you have wanted to act out in anger and revenge and rage, but you have resisted and turned the other cheek and responded with love.
You are a teenager and you have postponed a chance to join friends for good times because a friend was in need of you who had just broken up with a boyfriend or girlfriend and is depressed.
Whether we are kids, teenagers, adults or elderly, we feed each other often with our fruit.
· Let us think of the ways that we have died to self so that we might produce fruit and feed one another.
· Let us challenge ourselves to continue this process in our lives to nourish one another to the best of our ability – certainly, with the help of God. Amen.
St. Anne 27/III/2009