This is a story of 40 year old friends who had a reunion and were discussing where they should go for dinner. Somebody suggested that they meet at the Glowing Embers Restaurant because the waitresses there are young, shapely, and beautiful. They all agreed. 10 years later, at 50 years of age, they met and discussed again where they should have dinner. Somebody suggested again the Glowing Embers because the food and wine selection there are very good. They all agreed. 10 years later at 60 years of age, they once again discussed where to meet. Somebody suggested the Glowing Embers because they can eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant is smoke free. They all agreed.
10 years later, at 70 years of age, the group discusses again where they should meet. Somebody suggested that they should meet at the Glowing Embers because the restaurant is wheelchair accessible and they have an elevator. They all agreed. 10 years later, at 80 years of age, the group discusses again where they should meet. Somebody suggested that they should meet at the Glowing Embers because they have never been there before. And they all agreed.
The Greeks were probably in agreement that day when they decided to see Jesus. Whether they saw our Lord or not, John did not tell us. But what Jesus said is important to us.
He talked about grains of wheat falling to the ground and dying. He talked about producing much fruit once the grain of wheat dies. And He talked about preserving one’s life forever by hating what world gives.
Jesus talks about the dying of the wheat. The example of wheat from what we know in planting becomes the lesson of what we now know in life. Storing wheat in barns will never bring forth a harvest. Life only comes through death and dying. There is life once there is brokenness.
This is always God’s basic lesson. He uses broken things and broken people to show his love and manifest his presence. Soil has to be broken to produce a harvest. Clouds have to be broken to produce rain. Bread comes from a broken grain.
We ourselves live in our own brokenness. Some of us had been through these situations before: death and separation, a lost marriage, a broken home. Some of us had passed through this road before: sickness and pain, children and grandchildren being away from faith, lost jobs, lost lives, lost loves. And sometimes, God seems lost from our sight.
It is when we go through these times of pain and trials that we sense a different connection between God and us. It is when we are broken that God unites Himself to us more clearly. This was manifested in the two symbolic and real images of His presence. Unless grapes are crushed and made into wine, Christ’s blood at Mass is not shared. Unless bread is divided and broken, Christ’s body at Mass is not taken.
Brokenness happens when we allow God to create a better person out of us. Brokenness is the surrender of our heart, mind and body to our living Lord. Brokenness completes us with a God who once was also broken.
Unless the grain of wheat is buried, it will never reproduce. Unless the grain of wheat dies, it will never live again. That is a lesson of life. It is a testament of faith.
Once upon a time in history, the Greeks were of the same mind on one thing. Regardless whether they were 40, 50, 60, 70 or 80 years old, they wanted to see Jesus in order to avoid hell’s glowing embers. And they all agreed.
Maybe because at one point in their lives, they themselves had also been broken.
25 March 2012