The Mystery of Life and Death

Reading: John 13,21-32 (Isaiah 50,4-9a, Psalm 70, Hebrews 12,1-3)

Reflection: If engineers could create something like a seed – that can grow and produce more seeds for infinite generations – that would be an absolutely phenomenal achievement. It would still need to have a lifespan that lasts for thousands of years, and still work.
A team in Israel has just published a paper highlighting the miracle of the seed. At four archaeological sites in the Judean Desert, including Qumran and Masada, intact date palm seeds of the species Phoenix dactylifera – a precious cultivar that had been extinct for centuries – were excavated. They are believed to have been preserved by King Herod in his palaces. Scientists collected hundreds of seeds and selected the 34 best-looking ones. Using a little water and hormones in a sterile environment, they managed to get seven seeds to sprout and grow. Radiocarbon dating showed that these seeds were 2000 years old! – and still working. Their findings were published on February 5, 2020, in the open-access journal AAAS Science Advances.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Reading these verses, we are faced with the almost paradoxical mystery of life and death. The wheat grain is dead because it has not died. If it wants to live, it must first die. THE DAY OF DEATH IS THE DAY OF BIRTH.

This is a fundamental and one of the most revolutionary principles of life that Jesus ever uttered. Only to the extent that we hate, kill and renounce egocentrism, can we experience life in all its fullness. Christ’s life will manifest in us proportionally to how operational Christ’s cross is in us. Paul understands this paradox very well when he writes to the Corinthians: “So then death works in us, but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4,12)

Therefore, here is today’s reflection for us, as we walk with Jesus towards his death, let us ask ourselves how much we care about our life? Walking towards death is not an easy process. It is not pleasant even for the seed that is subjected to forces that disintegrate it, but it is the only way to fruitfulness. If it dies, it bears much fruit. Therefore, not all is lost when the wheat seed dies. It gives up one way of existence to accept another. This is also true for us when we decide to follow Christ.

Prayer: Lord, when I hear the words spoken by Jesus, I feel that you are calling me to deep contemplation. His words speak of the mystery of life and death, of rejecting egocentrism and accepting a new way of existence. Please help me to renounce my selfishness and to learn to love my life in a new way. Teach me how to die to myself, how to surrender to you, and how to follow the path you have set before me.

Posted in Daily devotionals.