Sowing and Reaping

"Where I am, there also will my servant be" (John 12:26).

The imagery of seeds and sowers is found in all the Gospels and was surely part of Jesus' central message. The coming of the Kingdom of God was not so much an announcement as an invitation. We are invited to enter a process of transformation. The first Covenant under the Law could only take us so far. The pursuit of legal and moral perfection produced a life of justice and order, but it could only lead us to the threshold of grace, where everything is gift and holiness is initiated by the life changing encounter with God. 

Passage to the new Covenant with God in love asks us to surrender ourselves in a new way. Anyone who has entered a love relationship knows that the thrill of crossing that threshold is in the risk involved. We are placing our lives on the line. What we desire will cost us everthing. We do not know the future. We surrender control of our lives to the shared life being offered us with the beloved. We freely enter a commitment whose outcome does not yet exist but will be created by the love that makes us a new being. 

This is the meaning of the seed, which is pure potential. If the seed is not sown, it remains pure potential, self-possessed but alone. Only in surrendering itself to the earth and to the process of coming out of its protective husk to be acted upon by the nutrients and moisture of the soil, to participate in the labor of thrusting roots into the ground and shoots into the air, will the tiny seed fulfill its destiny to give its life for the many.  The seed that falls to the ground and dies, multiplies itself manyfold and shares in a harvest that is its intended purpose and fulfillment. 

Perhaps this image and the parables Jesus told about seed and sower inspired him as he made his ways through the fields in spring planting en route to Jerusalem. Jesus knew that he would die there, and he must have reflected deeply and urgently on the meaning of his death as Suffering Servant.   The fate and miracle of the seed was the answer to his prayer.  By his death he would multiply the grace God was offering that would usher in the new Covenant.  

Can we also entrust ourselves and our fate to this same promise? Are we not the seed that falls to the ground in order to spring up anew as the green harvest of the new Covenant and the new Creation? We all will face the fact of death. Here is our invitation to unite both our life and out death with Christ in order to share in the coming of the Kingdom of God.