Readings: Jeremiah 31: 31-34; Psalm 51; Hebrews 5: 7-9; John 12: 20-33

Today’s scripture bids us to open our ears and listen with our hearts, for it is Yahweh who speaks, “See the days are coming when I will make a covenant with the House of Israel.” So be comforted and wait in hope, for the days are coming.

Grain of wheat - seeds 3This passage reminds us that long-ago Yahweh entered into a covenant with his people who cried out to him in distress. He listened to their plea for freedom and with overwhelming generosity he heard their prayer, took them by the hand and led them out of the slavery of Egypt. Through the wilderness, he walked with them, protected them and fed them, leading them into the Promised Land. As time went on, however, Yahweh’s tender care faded from their memory. They forgot Yahweh’s goodness and betrayed their covenant commitment. What fate could possibly await them?

But Yahweh, their tender, loving God, could not betray his people and offered them a new covenant, not on stone, but inscribed deep in their hearts. Yahweh refused to let his chosen people go. He yearned to be in a loving relationship with them. “I will be your God and you will be my people,” Yahweh says. Such forgiveness and loving acceptance by so great a God can perhaps be difficult for us to comprehend.

Jesus, however, teaches us how to hear and respond in today’s Gospel. Just as the seed must die to produce fruit so, too, we must learn to surrender our lives as Jesus did. Only those who lose their lives for His sake will yield a rich harvest in this world and enjoy eternal life hereafter. Jesus never leaves us orphans but shows us the way to the Father.

– Sister Margaret Donegan, SC

Sister Margaret, a retired educator, volunteers at the Archives of the Sisters of Charity and at Mount Saint Vincent Convent in the Bronx.



Image: Gain of Wheat – seeds 3, Steve Knaus