“I solemnly assure you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. The man who loves his life loses it, while the man who hates his life in this world preserves it to life eternal.” —John 12:24-25
During His public ministry, Jesus repeatedly spoke of His suffering and death. His disciples usually ignored these references to death. They probably rightly reasoned that, if their Master would die a painful death, they, His disciples, would die in a similar way. Naturally, they didn’t want to face death, especially a painful death. Nonetheless, Jesus challenges us to face death and escape the lifelong slavery due to the fear of death (Heb 2:15).
We can face death because of our faith in Jesus, “the Resurrection and the Life” (Jn 11:25), and because of our love for Him. We know not only that Jesus has conquered death (see 1 Cor 15:54ff), but also that He loves us and will raise us from the dead. Like St. Francis of Assisi, we see death as our friend, even as our sister (see Catechism, 1014). In Jesus’ love, death is not the end of life but the end of sin, suffering, and death. In Jesus’ love, death is the beginning of perfect love, peace, and joy.
Therefore, “every action of yours, every thought, should be those of one who expects to die before the day is out. Death would have no great terrors for you if you had a quiet conscience...Then why not keep clear of sin instead of running away from death? If you aren’t fit to face death today, it’s very unlikely you will be tomorrow...” (Catechism, 1014).
In these last two weeks of Lent, obey the Lord to deepen your love for Him so it will stand up to death and overcome it.
Prayer: Father, thank You for saving me from death.
Promise: “I — once I am lifted up from earth — will draw all men to Myself.” —Jn 12:32
Praise: Lord Jesus, You strengthen us during Lent. All praise to You!
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