Jesús dijo: “Yo les aseguro que si el grano de trigo, sembrado en la tierra, no muere, queda infecundo; pero si muere, producirá mucho fruto”.
Un grano de trigo que nunca se planta siempre será “Solo un grano de trigo”. Pero cuando se siembra un grano de trigo, regado y el sol calienta el suelo, del grano brotará un tallo y crecerán unos cincuenta granos de trigo. Piensa en ello; cincuenta granos de trigo de una sola semilla.
Jesús utilizó parábolas y ejemplos, que las multitudes podían entender. Fueron los pobres de la época que llegaron a escuchar a Jesús y eran principalmente agricultores y pastores. Mediante el uso de referencias a estas ocupaciones, la gente podía entender la lección que Jesús estaba enseñando en la historia.
Como se trata de nuestro grupo aquí en la Santa Cruz, debo referirme a una semilla de papa, que producirá seis o siete papas para que entendamos mejor la historia.
Jesús continuó “El que se ama a si mismo, se pierde; el que aborrece a sí mismo en este mundo vida en este mundo, se asegura para la vida eterna. El que me sirve, que me siga, para que donde yo esté, también este mi servidor. El que me sirve sera honrado por mi Padre”.
John Pilch escribió “La parábola de la semilla indica los medios por los cuales será glorificado Jesús. Su muerte será la fuente de vida para muchos, en realidad para todos los hijos de Israel (y no israelitas). Por otra parte, los que siguen a Jesús ganarán su entrada a la vida eterna a través de la muerte.
Por esta razón, el que está demasiado apegado a la vida en este mundo no va a llegar a ser tan honorable como un seguidor de Jesús que prefiere la vida en el mundo venidero. En la eternidad, el discípulo será con Jesús en el amor del Padre, un estado honorable que nada en el mundo puede igualar. ”
Pero nos estamos adelantando al Evangelio. Algunos griegos que habían venido a adorar en la fiesta de la Pascua, fueron a Felipe y le preguntaron: “Señor, quisiéramos ver a Jesús.” Esta es la primera mención de un pueblo no judío que busca a Jesús. La palabra griega “ver” también significa “para visitar a”, “para cumplir” o “para tener una entrevista con”.
Es común en la cultura mediterránea que alguien sea un mediador o un patrón para obtener acceso para una persona que no conoces. Felipe y Andrés eran de Betsaida de Galilea. Los Galileos eran en su mayoría bilingües. Por lo tanto, es probable que se acercaron a Felipe y a Andrés porque ambos tienen nombres griegos y serían capaces de traducir para ellos.
Si nosotros también queremos ver a Jesús. Gerald Darring escribió “Si quisiéramos ver a Jesús, tenemos que buscar los granos caídos de trigo que nos rodean, como son los enfermos y empobrecidos, los maltratados y oprimidos. Si quisiéramos ver a Jesús, tenemos que buscar a los que están perdiendo sus vidas, las víctimas de la pobreza, el abuso, la discriminación y la guerra.
Lo que necesitamos es un nuevo pacto, una alianza de amor y perdón. Tenemos que cumplir con lo escrito en nuestros corazones, que somos el pueblo de Dios, que aspiramos a ser como Cristo en la transformación de la oscuridad del dolor del mundo en la vida y la alegría de la Pascua”.
Jeremías dijo que Dios establecería un nuevo pacto con los hijos de Israel. No sería igual que el antiguo pacto con sus padres, pero un nuevo pacto que sería en sus corazones. “Ya no van a tener necesidad de enseñar a sus amigos y familiares cómo conocer a Jehová. Todos, de menor a mayor, me conocerán, dice Jehová, porque yo perdonaré su maldad y no recordara más sus pecados”.
Jesús vino a cumplir ese pacto. El camino hacia la realización no fue fácil. Jesús sabía el camino traería tentación, el sufrimiento y la muerte. Habló de esto al final del Evangelio cuando dijo: “Y cuando yo sea levantado de la tierra, atraeré a todos hacia mí”.
A través de la nueva alianza de su muerte y resurrección, Jesús venció a la muerte para traernos la salvación. El mensaje del Evangelio de hoy es buscar a Cristo, servir a los demás, perder el amor de esta vida y seguirlo de modo que cuando morimos, vamos a ganar la vida eterna.
San Josemaría Escrivá escribió “he distinguido como cuatro etapas en nuestro esfuerzo por identificarse con él Cristo de búsqueda, encontrándolo, conocerlo, amarlo. Puede parecer claro para ustedes que son sólo en la primera etapa. Búscalo entonces, con avidez; buscarlo dentro de vosotros mismos con todas tus fuerzas. Si se actúa con determinación, me atrevo a garantizar que ya lo habéis encontrado, y han comenzado a llegar a conocerlo y amarlo, ya tener vuestra conversación en los cielos”.
Si quisiéramos ver a Jesús, debemos perder nuestro amor por esta vida y seguir a Jesús. Seguir a Jesús significa vivir la vida que él vivió: servir a los pobres, a la viuda, al huérfano, al extranjero y el inmigrante. Si estamos con él en esta vida, entonces vamos a estar con él en el cielo por toda la eternidad.
Nuestro mundo está preocupado y desgarrado por la violencia y la guerra, por el odio y la falta de respeto por el valor de la vida. Todos hemos sido creados a imagen de Dios y cada persona merece ser tratado con amabilidad y respeto por su valor individual como hijo de Dios. Necesitamos paz en Ferguson Missouri or Pasco Washington y el resto de nuestro país, independientemente de que una persona está en la sociedad, la cantidad de dinero que poseen, el color de su piel, su origen cultural o la generación en la que nacieron. Necesitamos paz en Oriente Medio para que los cristianos puedan vivir sin temor de que serán quemados o decapitados.
Debemos orar por la paz en nuestro mundo. Debemos orar para que podamos respetar y tratar a cada persona con dignidad, independientemente de su color. Debemos orar por los cristianos en Siria e Irak que Dios les de la fuerza en sus momentos de necesidad. Debemos morir a nosotros mismos para que podamos compartir el amor de Dios con todos los que conocemos.
¿Vamos a seguir a Jesús y servir a los demás como él lo hizo? ¿O vamos a seguir siendo “Solo un grano de trigo”?
Monthly Archives: March 2015
Jesús dijo: “Yo les aseguro que si el grano de trigo, sembrado en la tierra, no muere, queda infecundo; pero si muere, producirá mucho fruto”.
Jesus said “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.”
A grain of wheat that is never planted will always be ‘Just a Grain of Wheat’. But when a grain of wheat is planted, watered and the sun warms the soil, the single grain will sprout a stalk and grow into about fifty kernels of wheat. Think about it; fifty kernels of wheat from that one seed.
Jesus used parables and examples that the crowds could understand. It was the poor of that time who came to hear Jesus and they were mainly farmers and shepherds. By using references to these occupations, the people could understand the lesson Jesus was teaching in the story.
Since this is a Holy Cross group, I should refer to a seed potato which will produce six or seven potatoes so we would understand the story better.
Jesus continued “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.”
John Pilch wrote “The parable of the seed indicates the means by which Jesus will be glorified. His death will be the source of life for many, actually for all (Israelites and non-Israelites). Moreover, those who follow Jesus will gain their entry to eternal life through death.
For this reason, the one who is too attached to life in this world will not prove to be as honorable a follower of Jesus as the one who prefers life in the world to come. In eternity, the disciple will be with Jesus in the Father’s love, an honorable status that nothing on earth can match.”
But we are getting ahead of the Gospel. Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast came to Philip and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” This is the first mention of a non-Jewish people who are seeking Jesus. The Greek word “to see” also means “to visit with”, “to meet” or “to have an interview with”.
It is common in Mediterranean culture to have someone be a mediator or a patron to obtain access for you to a person you don’t know. Philip and Andrew were from Bethsaida in Galilee. Galileans were mostly bilingual. Therefore, they probably came to Philip and he went to Andrew because they have Greek names and would be able to translate for them.
We too want to see Jesus. Gerald Darring wrote “If we should like to see Jesus, we need to look for the fallen grains of wheat around us, the sick and impoverished, the abused and oppressed. If we should like to see Jesus, we need to look for those who are losing their lives, the victims of poverty, abuse, discrimination, and war.
What we need is a new covenant, a covenant of love and forgiveness. We need to have written in our hearts that we are God’s people, that we aspire to be like Christ in transforming the darkness of the world’s pain into the life and joy of Easter.”
Jerimiah said that God would establish a New Covenant with the children of Israel. It would not be like the Old Covenant with their fathers, but a new covenant that would be in their hearts. “No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the LORD. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.”
Jesus came to fulfill that covenant. The path to fulfillment was not easy. Jesus knew the path would bring temptation, suffering and death. He spoke about this at the end of the Gospel when he said “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”
Through the New Covenant of his death and resurrection, Jesus overcame death to bring us salvation. The message in today’s Gospel is to seek Christ, serve others, lose the love of this life and follow him so that when we die, we will gain eternal life.
St Josemaría Escrivá wrote “I have distinguished as it were four stages in our effort to identify ourselves with Christ—seeking him, finding him, getting to know him, loving him. It may seem clear to you that you are only at the first stage. Seek him then, hungrily; seek him within yourselves with all your strength. If you act with determination, I am ready to guarantee that you have already found him, and have begun to get to know him and to love him, and to hold your conversation in heaven.”
If we would like to see Jesus, we must lose our love for this life and follow Jesus. To follow Jesus means to live the life that he lived: serving the poor, the widow, the orphan, the stranger and the immigrant. If we are with him in this life, then we will be with him in heaven for all of eternity.
Our world is troubled and torn by violence and war, by hatred and disrespect for the value of life. We are all created in God’s image and each person deserves to be treated with kindness and respect for their individual worth as a child of God. We need peace in Ferguson Missouri and the rest of our country regardless of where a person is in society, how much money they own, the color of their skin, their cultural background or the generation in which they were born. We need peace in the Middle East so that Christians can live without fear that they will be burned or beheaded.
We must pray for peace in our world. We must pray that we will respect and treat each person with dignity regardless of their color. We must pray for the Christians in Syria and Iraq that God will give them strength in their time of need. We must die to self so we can share God’s love with everyone we meet.
Will we follow Jesus and serve others as he did? Or will we remain ‘Just a Grain of Wheat’?
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe repeats it agreeing with Jesus that it is the first of all the commandments when he said “Well said, teacher. You are right ….” And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
Even though Jesus had harsh words for the Scribes and Pharisees, Jesus could tell that this person before him was really seeking the truth. That is why Jesus told him that he was close to the Kingdom of God.
Yesterday, Jeremiah talked about the lack of faithfulness and sincerity to God. Even for the faithful, little things creep into our lives that affect our sincerity toward others which eventually affects our sincerity to God. Today, Jesus leaves no doubt about what it takes to serve God. The Scribe, a Doctor of the Law, asked Jesus which was first of all the commandments.
Jesus gave him a very detailed list. Love your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. This takes care of the entire body: the heart takes care of the physical, the soul the spiritual, the mind the mental and the strength the things which we are passionate about – the emotions.
But Jesus did not stop after he stated the first of all the commandments; he then gave the path for action to share our love for God through our neighbor. When we love God with our whole being, we just naturally share that love with others.
In the Gospel Jesus said “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Sometimes, we can get discouraged and depressed. We may even feel that we are worthless or unworthy. When we love God with our whole being, we will love ourselves and every one we meet. We will respect each person for their human dignity for we are all made in the image of God. And it is obvious to others that God’s love dwells within us in how we treat others; whether it is a stranger, a family member or a close friend.
The world is torn apart by our inability to love each other and treat each person with respect. That is obvious by the turmoil in Ferguson Missouri, the racist chants on college campuses and the hatred that ISIS has for others – Muslins as well as Christians.
We need to pray for peace in our world, to pray for the aggressors and persecutors of the Christians, for the racist (regardless of their color) in our country and for the unrest and turmoil in our families.
We must love God with our whole being and our neighbor as ourselves so that we too, like the scribe, can be close to the Kingdom of God.
In the first reading, Jeremiah called on the people to admit their sins and repent, but the people didn’t listen. Jeremiah failed but it was not due to his efforts, it was due to the people’s hardness of heart. The Major Prophets Bible Commentary provides an insight to the issue: “the people’s hardheartedness, that is, the insensitivity that prevents them from examining their consciences in a desire to change where necessary and thus be able to hear the voice of God. Holy Scripture calls this obstinacy “hardness of heart” or “stubbornness of heart”. It is a kind of inner resistance, an imperviousness to the voice of conscience, but it can be traced back to free choices that people have made.”
Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.
The New Jerusalem Bible uses a different word for Faithfulness: “Sincerity is no more, it has vanished from their mouths.” Sincerity is defined as: the quality or state of being sincere: honesty of mind: freedom from hypocrisy.
I like the second and third phrases. These are two topics that Jesus talked about during his earthly ministry. Freedom from hypocrisy is probably one of the most difficult states to accomplish. Jesus was always chiding the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. Jesus would tell the church leaders that the real problem was going through the motions without meaning it in their hearts. We are no different today.
It is easy for our thoughts to interfere with our relationship with others and God. How often does our mind wander when the other person is talking? Or maybe we are thinking that the person really doesn’t mean what they are saying. It is so easy for us to do that.
We too, like the Pharisees, can go through the motions of worship with hard hearts that don’t care for the person next to us. We pray without meaning. We hand out food to the poor just going through the motions. Our hearts are not in loving and serving God because we are just going through the motions.
The response for the Psalm today: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
The Psalmist wrote: Oh, that today you would hear his voice: “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert, where your fathers tempted me; they tested me though they had seen my works.”
“Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.” It seems ironic to say those words to you; you who are here for daily mass. I am sure there are others who would be here if they were able – work or school obligations prevent many from being here. I know that work was the reason I was unable to attend daily mass. After I retired, I have tried to attend every day. But even then, it is hard to accomplish.
You make it a priority to come to daily mass. You make it a priority to be sincere in all of your interactions with others. When we are sincere and treat others with respect and integrity, we are with Jesus in building the kingdom. At the end of today’s Gospel Jesus said “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Let us be sincere in how we live our lives so we will be with Jesus in his kingdom.