Reflection for the fifth Sunday of Lent 2021
If the grain of wheat that falls to the earth does not die, it remains only a grain of wheat; but if it dies, then it produces much fruit.John 12:20-3
Jesus gives us this Sunday the springtime image of the rebirth of nature, of food and fruit blossoming from what is sown. He leaves us with the imperative that as his followers, Christians that we are, we cannot stand still. It is of no use to keep what we have received or what we have discovered if we do not put it to good use. Or if we do not share it with others. To preserve is sterile. To share is to flourish and bear fruit. We live in times when it seems that many try more to resist and preserve than to share and radiate. Times where discouragement and giving up gain strength. “It is easy to be infected by the virus of discouragement that sometimes seems to spread around us” Pope Francis tells us (1). “But the Lord has given us an effective vaccine against this evil virus: it is hope; hope, which is born of persevering prayer and daily fidelity to our apostolate. With this vaccine, we can proceed with ever new energy to share the joy of the Gospel as missionary disciples and living signs of the presence of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of holiness, justice and peace.”
In this past week we have celebrated someone who lived precisely in hope, whom he preserved in prayer and faithfulness to the faith, Joseph. Recently his representation in a lying down image has become popular. I have been asked why they present the saint who looks tired. Is it not a way of saying that Jesus was a restless child? Or that his work and family life left him exhausted, as so many of us are. I reply that this is not really the intention. It is that Joseph is presented lying down because in the Gospel it says that God spoke to him while he was asleep. Therefore, when we see Joseph lying down, he prays, God speaks to him. This is how he accepted in faith the very special situation of his fiancée and the life that they were both going to have from now on. It was also through the prayer of dreams that he became aware that his family would have to flee, that they would have to live as refugees in a foreign country. And also through the dream prayer he was told to return to his country. And Joseph was faithful. “At the end of every event that has Joseph as the protagonist, the Gospel observes that he gets up, takes the Child and his mother with him and does what God has commanded him. Indeed, Jesus and Mary his mother are the most precious treasure of our faith”(2). A treasure which is our hope and which has been made known to the world through the faith lived by those who have gone before us, and which it is up to us to nourish and live in joy. Not to preserve the seed, dry and sterile like a useless treasure, but so that it may be sown in the world, where it may blossom and bear fruit and nourish others.
Gabriel Silva, OP
(1) Pope Francis in Iraq, 5 March 2021
(2) Apostolic Letter Patris Crode, 2020