Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bountiful Fruit by Beth DeCristofaro

Memorial of St Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6)

Jesus said to his disciples: "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. (John 12:24)

Good Shepherd, Good Gardener, may I sow only mercy and kindness.  And when it is my time to let fall that grain I call life, may I join you in your house forever.  Amen.

My dad and my father-in-law both died young.  Not only sad, their deaths forced our mothers to drop the “wife” grain of wheat because that grain died with Alex and Sal.  Both our moms actually made new, vibrant lives and produced much fruit despite their grief.  Every day people are compelled to drop the grains of wheat which had given them identity or meaning.  A wounded veteran races her wheelchair in the Marine Corps Marathon because her legs were destroyed by a bomb.  An alcoholic, long addicted and loving his beer finally buries that grain and becomes a loyal family man, an ordained minister, and pillar of his small community.  A newlywed buries the grains of “me first” to learn to give of self to a spouse, their union now most central and sacred.

As we age we sag a bit here and ache a bit there, indicators, perhaps
even badges, of our life.  In our faces, we wear the lines of life’s tragedy, illness, joy, doubt, stress, worry, pain, the many moments in which we were called to drop grains no longer relevant and hope, with the companionship of the Good Shepherd, for much fruit. 

The 23rd Psalm consoles us:  “Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days.” St. Lawrence let fall the grain of his own life rather than turn his back on God.  Asked to produce the riches of the Church, he gathered a crowd of poor, ill, lame and showed them to his accusers.  What grains have we let fall to grow in Christ?  What might we still need to let fall?  What are our treasures?

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