The Gospel Today
Feast of Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr
John 12: 24-26
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
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.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.”
Reflection (Sem. Eldrick S. Pena)
The message in today’s Gospel is very clear. We need to die in order to bear much fruit. But of course, it is not literal death, but small, constant dying to oneself in order to respond to the noble call to love and love more generously. Death in this case becomes life-giving and sustaining. In seminary formation, we are invited to experience little deaths in order for us to purify our vocation and to strengthen our relationship with the Master. This little dying to oneself can include constant availability in order to extend help to other members of the community, letting go of some attachments and excess baggage, decreasing in self love so as to grow in humility, being more forgetful of self by being more other-centered than self-centered and many others.
This is something that we try to learn and imbibe, little by little until we are able to develop mastery of our emotions and reactions, thereby improving our relationship with God, others and our own self.
Among my personal issues is my impatience. I get easily irritated and become impatient if things do not go as I planned and if people are not able to understand what I am saying easily. I am also very reactive and could not manage my emotion that lead to sudden emotional outbursts of anger. Because of this, I have had broken relations with some members of the community.
After experiencing a major crisis last year, I realized how God has been so patient of me – of my weaknesses and shortcomings, my inconsistencies and my failures. This led me to a deeper reflection on patience – How Jesus was very patient in carrying the cross, suffering on it, and eventually, dying as an enemy of the people in order to show how much He loves us. It is a meaningful death! A death that was freely accepted in obedience to the Father’s will. If Christ had exhibited patience in bearing the pains of crucifixion for me, then why can’t I be patient of others?
The invitation for me then is to let go of my impatience, of my pride in order to bear much fruit which translates to a better relationship with my brothers in the community, my self, and most importantly, the Lord, who has called me to this vocation.
What “deaths” do you need to experience for you to live life more fully?