Thursday’s Gospel (John 12:24-26) about the grain of wheat falling to the ground really made me think. Here’s the full Gospel:
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.”
The aspect of this Gospel that really made me think, and do some research, is the whole “whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it” especially since, a few chapter earlier, we read, “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” -Jn 10-10.
Having an abundant life doesn’t exactly seem to jive with hating my life. So, since I’m no Bible scholar, I took to Google for some research. After a little digging I came to this response from Fr. Echert on the EWTN website.
The Hebrew language and culture did not express the superlative and comparative with single words, as we typically do in English, but often expressed this with stark contrast. That is how we properly interpret this text. We are not to hate our life in the sense that we see no value in it and have no happiness, but we are to “hate” it in the sense that we are not in love with the world view and values, and are willing to sacrifice everything in this life–including mortal life itself–for the sake of the Eternal Life to come.
So, like our Lord, who died in order to redeem us all we too must die to the things of this world. And while it’s OK to be happy with the many blessings in our life we must never become so enamored with the things of this world that we lose sight of our ultimate goal – heaven.
Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!