Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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From death comes new life

Based on Jer 31: 31-34; Heb 5:7-9; Jn 12:20-33

Spring is here. Nature wakens from its dark winter sleep. The hours of daylight are longer. We look for new life “springing” up outside – trees budding and becoming leafy, shrubs turning green or flowery and flowers poking through the earth and blooming with color. We hear birds chirping and see squirrels scampering. We welcome more sunshine and warmer weather.

People will work on their gardens and lawns. It will take a lot of hard work – besides good soil, seeds, fertilizer, water, sun, weeding and tools to dig, cut and prune – to grow strong, healthy grass, plants and trees.

At the same time, we continue our reverent Lenten journey and look forward to the joy of Jesus’ glorious Resurrection on Easter.

In the Gospel, Jesus says, “The time has come for me to be glorified. Just as a grain of wheat must be buried in the earth, die and then rise to life as a tall, strong sheaf of wheat to produce many grains, so the Son of God must die so that many can live.”

While Jesus was troubled because he knew Judas would betray him, and his suffering and death on the cross were approaching, he prayed to God the Father for courage and strength.

Jesus used a familiar object from nature to explain his teaching. He wanted his disciples – and he wants us – to understand that like the seed, his death was necessary if we all were to be given new life.

God is always planting seeds in our hearts. We are called to “weed out” sin and selfishness and to share the fruit of Jesus’ love with others.

Some examples: Spend a day with Grandpa and Grandma to help with chores; visit someone who is lonely or sick; give Mom and Dad hugs for all they do for you; help take care of your younger brother or sister; smile at everyone you meet; help Mom with the dishes or laundry; help Dad with the yard work; be a friend to a classmate you never spend time with; pray for our military men and women serving in countries all over the world.

As part of God’s family, our parish family, our own family, we grow from seeds to new life – “Bloom where you are planted.”