How does it translate in community? In the Gospel, Jesus says, “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”(Jn 12:24.) In our renewal, we have shed most of our old self, and we are now new creations in Christ. Then, there are disciples who are always available, never inconvenienced, who never count the cost: those who give their love to the children (Mark 10 and John 6), and those who care for the elderly. There are disciples who accept a terminal disease with serenity, even joy. For some people, the loss of life is literal; they are ready to be called to martyrdom for the gospel.
Jesus also tells us “Whoever serves me must follow me”(Jn 12:26). Like the rich young man in Matthew, we ask individually, where else do we need to grow to follow Him? We must have the love and hunger for the Scriptures, not to be biblical scholars, but to help us live the Gospel. We need to have our quiet moments with Jesus daily, to listen for His message, so we become attuned to His voice in our silence. We learn from the shared reflections from the internet, but we must discover the joy of His words in our own individual reflections. We need to regularly partake of the Sacraments that Jesus gave us to give us the strength to live in this secular world. In the Sacraments, we feel the physical connection and the assurance that Jesus Christ loves us. He gave His life to save us; and now He is living at our side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free us.
We need to know why we stay and serve in community. Community fills us spiritually, but it also covertly fulfills our desire to be recognized and be relevant. When we get hurt or pruned we cannot be the whisperers and grumblers that sow division that weakens and destroys community. Let us grow to be charitable and lovingly correct our brethren, so we can all be effective evangelizers in our actions. We need to be reconciled with each other within and outside of community; let us be like the psalmist who asks for more than forgiveness. Let us ask for total removal of sin, with the offense blotted from memory, as if it never occurred, and ask for a renewed spirit.
There is a great destiny before us. Yes, we are called to serve, but we also need to grow in our love and adoration for Jesus. The gospels ask us to follow Jesus, to be more like Jesus, to be holy as Jesus.
But we all have to remember, as St. Paul tells us today, “He learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him”(Heb 5:8). It didn’t come easy to Jesus either. He had said, “I am troubled now.” He knew what was coming and He Himself had to die to His own desire to “let this Cup pass from me” yet, He obeyed the Father.
May we make ourselves a true temple of the Spirit, a place of prayer and encounter with Christ so that we can truly reflect the image of Christ within us. And then no one will say to us, “We want to see Jesus!” because he already sees Jesus in all of us.