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.
Click to go to << 5th Sunday of Lent 2012 >>
Click to go to << 5th Sunday of Lent 2009 >>
Some Greeks said: “We want to see Jesus?” Why? Because they heard he was a wonder-worker and wanted to see him perform a miracle? Because they heard he was a rabbi and wanted him to answer a question?
Do you also wish to see Jesus? Is it because you want to ask him for a favor? Perhaps you are a teacher and is about to take the LET exams at the end of the month. So you are praying to pass that board exams. Is it because there is something you can’t understand and you want him to explain it to you? Perhaps you have a problem child and you want to ask him, “Lord, saan ako nagkamali?” Perhaps you lost a loved one and you want to ask him, “Why did you allow this to happen?” Do you want to see Jesus? Someone may answer, “No.” “Why not?” “Kasi wala naman akong kailangan.” O kaya, “Hindi ako interesado sa kanya.” How about you? Do you want to see Jesus?
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Is it not strange that Jesus calls his passion and death on the cross a glorification? It is a glorification if we keep in mind that his crucifixion was the triumph of love. St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans said: “Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us (Mahirap mangyaring ialay ninuman ang kanyang buhay alang-alang sa isang taong matuwid, kahit na maaaring may mangahas na gumawa nito alang-alang sa isang taong mabuti. Ngunit ipinadama ng Diyos ang kanyang pag-ibig sa atin nang mamatay si Cristo para sa atin noong tayo'y makasalanan pa.)” (Rom 5:7-8).
Any act of love is a glorification, especially if it is done at a cost of great sacrifice. A crew member who survived the sinking of Princess of the Orient on September 18, 1998 tells this story: “I saw my captain and Judge German Lee still on the listing ship in the process of distributing life jackets to the passengers and then in one huge splash, the ship keeled on its side. It was the last time I saw them.” They could have taken the life jackets for themselves and left the sinking ship. But they did not. Instead, they gave out life jackets to the other passengers and in so doing, sealed their fate. Their death is sad. But it is also a glorification because their death was the triumph of love for their fellow human beings.
The Parable of the Grain of Wheat. 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. This is a parable explaining the importance of the death of Jesus on the Cross. His death produced much fruit, the salvation of all. In your life what needs to die? What needs to be buried? Baka kailangan mong ibaon sa limot and mga mapapait na pangyayari sa iyong buhay para maka-move on ka na.
St. Paul writes to the Colossians, “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry and put on the new man/self which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator (ang mga pagnanasang makalaman, ang pakikiapid, kahalayan, mahalay na simbuyo ng damdamin, masasamang nasa, at ang kasakiman na isang uri ng pagsamba sa diyus-diyosan. Isinuot ninyo ang bagong pagkatao na patuloy na nababago at nagiging kalarawan ng Diyos na lumikha sa inyo.)” (Col 3:5.10). One young woman shared this with me. Her younger brother does not have a job. He is not looking for one. So he depends on her for money. She doesn’t have the heart to refuse him. What does he need to put to death? Laziness. What does she need to put to death? Courage to not tolerate his laziness.
“I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” This is St. John’s version of the agony in the garden. All three Synoptic Gospels (Mt, Mk and LK) narrate the agony of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. John’s Gospel does not. However, the words of Jesus (I am troubled now…) is his version of the prayer of Jesus in the garden: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will” (Mt 26:39).
Jesus saw the suffering that was going to come upon him: the scourging at the pillar, the three times he would fall under the weight of the cross, the crucifixion and the three hours of agony on the cross. But Jesus did not run away. He faced it manfully. What do you usually do when trials or problems or pain come to you? Are you in the habit of facing them bravely? Or do you run away from them? Some people seek escape in drugs or in alcohol. How do you build up the courage to face and overcome the pain, the sorrow, and the trials that come your way? First, have faith. Believe that you are not alone. Jesus is with you. Remind yourselves often the words of the bible: “It is I. Do not be afraid.” And the answer of Jesus to St. Paul’s prayer, “My grace is enough for you (Ang pagpapala ko ay sapat sa lahat ng pangangailangan mo.)” (2 Cor 12:9). Second, seek support also from those who care about you. It is easier to face pain and problems when you know you are not alone. And you are not alone because God and those who care about you are by your side, supporting you.