A PARADOXICAL LAW
We find few phrases in the Gospel that are as challenging as these words that express a conviction that is very Jesus: «In all truth I tell you, unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest».
Jesus’ idea is clear. With life, the same thing happens as with the grain of wheat: it must die in order to free its whole energy and produce fruit someday. If «it doesn’t die» it stays on top of the soil. But on the contrary, if “it does die” it returns to raise itself up bringing with it new grains and new life.
With this language that’s so graphic and full of power, Jesus lets us glimpse that his death, far from being a failure, will be precisely what will give fruitfulness to his life. But at the same time, he invites his followers to live according to this same paradoxical law: in order to give life it’s necessary to «die».
You can’t generate life without giving your own life. It’s not possible to help someone live if you aren’t ready to «do one’s utmost» for others. No one contributes to a more just and human world by being glued to one’s own well-being. No one works seriously for God’s reign and God’s justice if they aren’t willing to take on the risks and rejections, the conflict and persecution that Jesus endured.
We spend our life trying to avoid suffering and problems. The culture of well-being pushes us to organize ourselves in the most comfortable and pleasing way possible. It’s the supreme ideal. However there are sufferings and rejections that are necessary to take on if we want our life to be fruitful and creative. Hedonism isn’t a mobilizing force; obsession for our own well-being makes us small.
We’re used to living life with our eyes closed to the suffering of others. It seems the most intelligent and sensible way to be happy. It’s wrong. Surely we succeed in avoiding some problems and heartaches, but our well-being will become more and more empty and sterile, our religion more and more sad and selfish. Meanwhile the oppressed and afflicted want to know if anyone cares about their pain.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf