Gospel: Jn 12:24-26
Truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Those who love their life destroy it, and those who despise their life in this world save it even to everlasting life.
Whoever wants to serve me, let him follow me; and wherever I am, there shall my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
The great paradox of life is expressed in the words of Jesus, “unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” It is only when we die to our selfishness and let ourselves nurture or nourish other people can we lead meaningful lives. Lives that are generously offered and shared effectively inspire others to follow their example. In effect, these lives are multiplied as they bear fruits of righteousness and virtue.
Jesus gave us the ultimate example of a life offered for and shared to others. His death has produced much fruit – the forgiveness of sins, salvation or new life for the world. His death and resurrection has made it possible for us to be made children of God.
The lives of martyrs can be seen in the same light. By shedding their blood for the sake of their faith in Jesus Christ, they have given powerful witnessing for the rest of Christians to emulate. We have so much evidence of this in the history of the Church. The qualitative and quantitative growth of the Church in any country is closely linked to the number of martyrs who shed their blood for the faith. Truly, “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the faith.”