The Holy Gospel according to John (12:24-26)
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.”
“Why you should hate your life!” is a good title for a today’s reflection – because Jesus said that we should do it! To do it, you’ve got to think carefully about what it means and work at it daily. It’s not a “do it once and you’re done” kind of thing. Also, Jesus said that if I hate my life in this world, I will keep it to life eternal. So this isn’t just some self-help advice about how to have your best life now. It’s about your eternal destiny! So we need to be clear on what Jesus meant and how we should apply it!
When Jesus repeats a message often, we really need to pay attention. He gives us a “heads up” when He begins (12:24) with, “Truly, truly ….” That means, “Wake up! Don’t miss this! Think carefully about this because it’s important!” He is the grain of wheat that dies so that it will bear much fruit. But in that, Jesus is also our example. We are to die to ourselves so that we bear much fruit.
Jesus’ words apply to everyone who wants to follow Him. He assumes that we all want to save our lives. But He tells us that the way to save our lives is to lose them for His sake and the gospel’s. And, He’s talking about saving or losing our lives eternally.
You should hate your life in this world because you want to follow Jesus, serve Him, and be with Him forever.
Today is the Feast of St. Lawrence, the patron of Deacons – he is the example of how deacons serve God.
1. The servant’s model: By laying down His life on the cross, Jesus bore much fruit (12:24).
2. The servant’s mandate: To follow Jesus, you must hate, not love, your life in this world (12:25).
To “hate” our lives (John 12:25) is the same thing as denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily to follow Jesus (Luke 9:23). It means living for God’s glory and His purpose by submitting every thought, word, and deed to the lordship of Jesus. It means moment by moment seeking to love God and love others for Jesus’ sake by saying no to my inherent selfishness and pride.
Action of the Day
Consider this: By “hating this life,” Jesus is referring to the daily, lifelong process of dying to self as we live for Him. We need to fully engage in the daily battle of fighting our own selfishness and pride.
Taking up your cross is a daily activity that you choose to embrace. The cross was an instrument of tortuous, slow execution. Jesus’ hearers knew that a man who took up his cross was, for all practical purposes, a dead man. A man bearing his cross gave up all hope and interest in the things of this world, including self-fulfillment. He knew that in a very short time he would be leaving this world. He was dead to self. Jesus’ death on the cross was the supreme act of love. And love is the supreme mark of the Christian, the first fruit of the Holy Spirit.