Today’s Gospel reading gives some of my favorite Christ imagery—Jesus as a grain of wheat. As Catholics we understand Christ’s continual bread allusions as pointing toward the Eucharist, toward the Bread of Life we consume at every Mass. This Gospel is also a reminder of the reality of the sacrificial nature of Mass, where we are at the foot of Jesus’ cross.
Jesus tells the men who come to see Him, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” At the Mass when Jesus is broken for us in the Eucharist, He proves how His death was fruitful—we are His fruit. His death on the cross has given us new life.
But the awe-inspiring reality of Mass isn’t just one way. You and I have to be ready to break ourselves, to die and bear fruit just like Jesus did. “Those who love their life lose it” and only by dying to this world can we enter the next. Jesus says, “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.” Only by following His example and embracing our cross can we hope to be with Him.
But then God’s voice comes from Heaven, and when the crowd wonders Jesus says, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.” This verse made me stop and think. Jesus is telling us we have to suffer to be His followers, and that’s a hard thing to do, but now God speaks from Heaven to reassure us? Why does He do this?
It’s as if He’s reminding them, “I am doing this for you.” Jesus dies on the cross and gives Himself to us in the Eucharist, and He also asks us to do hard things. The Christian life is not easy at all. Sometimes its tough for us to keep going, but here Jesus is reminding us of how much He loves us—He’s dying so we can be with Him, and giving Himself to us in the Eucharist to make us strong enough to fight on. The apostles needed reassurance that everything was going to be okay, and we still need it too. Thankfully, Jesus is there in Adoration, in Mass, and in Scripture speaking to us and guiding us.
Also, this is Deacon Sunday, so be sure to thank your parish deacon for all his hard work in making the voice of Jesus heard in your community! Thank you, deacons! God bless you all, and have a beautiful Sunday!
In His Sacred Heart,