Letting the Grains of Wheat Fall to the Ground

In today’s Gospel from St. John, Jesus tells his disciples that “unless a grain of wheat fall to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it does, it produces much fruit.”

The first thing that comes to mind when one hears that passage is Jesus’ own death and resurrection. By his death, resurrection, ascension and coming of the Spirit, Jesus’ presence is felt far beyond what is was during his human lifetime.

However, what Jesus says next belies any notion that the passage is only about him. He continues “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.”

Fortunately, Jesus is not asking us to literally follow him to death on a cross. But he does invite us to serious transformation. It seems to me that these words invite us to explore what grains of wheat we hold onto – what do we not allow to fall to the floor so as to bring new life within us. Broadly the question is what are thing things we grasp onto that we need to let go of so that we can be more than we now are…things that keep us rooted in our false self (to use a phrase Thomas Merton liked to use) and prevent the flowering of our true selves?