March 22, 2015: Fifth Sunday of Lent
Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 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.
“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.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours. Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” He said this indicating the kind of death he would die. (John 12:20-33)
Jesus knew that he was coming to the end of his life and that he would die on a cross to save the world. He was trying to prepare his followers. He reminded them that seeds must be planted in the ground before they can grow into a plant or tree. The seed does not really die, but it seems to disappear because it becomes food for the roots and sprouts that grow; the seed is changed into the plant it will become. Jesus is saying he and we will have new life.
Jesus tells us that we need to be like a grain of wheat—to grow and change into the persons we were made to be. You do that each day, as you learn and grow at school and home, with your family and friends, in your prayer and your play. You are like the grain of wheat when you care about others and are not selfish.
You might like to watch a seed sprout. Ask your parent or another adult if there are some dried beans you could use, perhaps one or two of several kinds. Wet a paper towel, and place 3 or 4 beans on it, folding them inside. Put it on a counter or windowsill, making sure the paper towel stays moist. Keep checking and in a few days you should see the little sprouts. Or try planting orange seeds in a paper cup with moist garden soil. It may take a while, but you may soon have a new green plant; it would become a big orange tree if you live where it is warm all year. Let the seeds or the plant remind you of the Gospel story about the grain of wheat.