Fr. Sanctus Mario
Inspiration and Bible Reflections

Unless A Grain of Wheat Dies. Sunday Breakfast 5th Sunday of Lent Year B


Sunday Breakfast with the Word 5th Sunday of Lent Year B


Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 5:7-9, John 12:20-33



There is a particular story of one Mr Francis who moves about telling people the need to take many alcoholic drinks every day. Mr Francis is a man who finds it very difficult to live without taking alcoholic drinks. He can take at least six or seven of them every day. 



Many people come to know him with this, that he hardly moves about without an alcoholic drink. He was even celebrated because of it. Many brewery companies used him to advertise their products. Because he can drink many bottles of alcoholic beverages within thirty minutes. 



One day, Mr Francis felt a particular discomfort in his body and invited his doctor for a normal routine check-up. The diagnosis revealed that Mr Francis had developed a problem with his kidney. 

The doctor advised him that the only way he can live is to quit drinking any form of alcoholic drink.” You have to cease from drinking alcohol if you truly love your life. This has become part of you but to help yourself, this is the only remedy” said the doctor.

In essence, The doctor is saying that Mr Francis has to die to alcohol to help his life. Therefore, to live, He has to die to something.


In today’s gospel, Jesus tells us that unless a grain of wheat dies, it will never bear a rich harvest. That is the secret of life, growth, progress and even succcess.


This is also the secret of eternal life and this is what Jesus comes to do as we are approaching the peak of the Lenten season. 


To Die: The Meaning.


To die means a cessation of life. It means to stop something from living. When something or somebody dies, the person stops being active and living. It fades away.


For a seed to germinate and give birth to many fruits, the seed has to die to itself to be able to germinate. Jesus sees this as the secret of Life. He says unless a grain of wheat dies, it will not bear an abundant harvest.


Hence, If we wish to live we have to die. Today’s readings need a thorough analysis to get to the message of the day. 



Read More


When We close our Hearts


Living for God: Breakfast with the Word


True Relationship with God: The Meaning, Challenges and How To


Are We Open to Jesus?


If God says So: Reflection on the Feast of Saint Patrick


If You want to be made Well



The Background.


1.As the feast of the Passover gradually approaches, people begin to come in their numbers to the city of Jerusalem. Today’s gospel happened after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.


In verse 12 of this gospel (John 12:20-33), the great crowd of people who had come for the Passover festival welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with branches of palms shouting Hosanna, Blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord.


Many Greeks also came to worship at the Passover feast. So, while Jesus was preaching, some Greeks approached Philip asking for permission to see Jesus.


The Reason they Approached Philip


Philip hails from the city of Bethsaida. He is said to be closely associated with Andrew and Peter, who also come from the same town.

He was present with John the Baptist when he first identified Jesus as the Lamb of God. Notably, it was Philip who initially introduced Nathanael (sometimes referred to as Bartholomew) to Jesus.

The name Philip is a Greek name, so Philip is one of, if not the only apostle that could possibly have the ability to speak Greek.

So, Philip may have been familiar to the Greek pilgrims in Jerusalem and understands their language.Therefore, the Greek pilgrims think that Philip could possibly understand them more.

So, he served as the link between the Greeks and the apostles.

He informs Andrew that some Greeks are eager to meet Jesus, and together they relay this message to Jesus.

When Andrew and Philip told Jesus about it, Jesus replied to them that the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 


The Grain of Wheat and Abundance of Harvest


During the encounter with Jesus, He now uses that opportunity to talk about the suffering He is going to undergo. But this suffering will be a way of glorification.


Jesus reminds the people of the great hour they have been waiting for. The hour the Messiah is going to be revealed.


He says that the hour has come when God is going to reveal who He is. He is the salvation the people have been waiting for but unless the grain of wheat dies, it will not bear an abundant harvest.


Here, Jesus metaphorically tells them of the need for the Messiah to undergo death so that all people can be saved. It is a glory that will come through suffering, crucifixion and death.

Towards the end, Jesus says that this is the reason He has come. To suffer and die that through his suffering and death we shall come to life. 


The Implications.


The point is that, Jesus is using the analogy of a grain of wheat to teach his disciples about the nature of his upcoming death and its significance.

Jesus is implying that his death and resurrection will bring about a great harvest of believers and eternal life. He is not going to die forever.

So, by using the analogy of a grain of wheat, Jesus is explaining that just as a seed must fall to the ground and die in order to produce new life and a bountiful harvest, he too must die in order to bring about spiritual transformation and eternal life for humanity.

So, Jesus is conveying the idea that his death and resurrection will bring about a supernatural transformation and a rich harvest of believers, leading to eternal life and the defeat of evil.




1. Jesus teaches us the importance of sacrifice and selflessness: Jesus uses the analogy of a grain of wheat falling to the ground and dying to teach about the necessity of sacrifice for growth and transformation.

If we truly want growth in our spiritual lives we have to sacrifice whatever that could always cause a decline to that growth.

We have to die to the pleasures of the flesh, to adultery and fornication, to hatred, prayerlessness, wickedness. We have to die to seeking more earthly desires than spiritual desires.


2.This also teaches us that in our own lives, sometimes we need to let go of our own personal desires, ambitions, and comforts in order to experience spiritual growth and bring about positive change in the world.

It reminds us to be willing to make sacrifices for the greater good and to prioritize the needs of others.


3. It also implies that if we want personal transformation, and growth in our businesses and financial lives, we have to sacrifice and die to whatever that brings downfall to us.


We have to  die to procrastination, laziness, over dependence on someone, etc. When we die to the things that causes us decline, there is always a breakthrough.


4. Finally,through his statement, Jesus assures his disciples that despite his death, there is still a moment of resurrection which will bring about a rich harvest and eternal life.

This teaches us that despite the challenges and struggles we may face in life, there is hope for a better future.


It encourages us to hold onto our faith and trust in God’s plan, even in times of difficulty or uncertainty, knowing that transformation and a brighter future are possible  despite how hard it becomes.



The Voice From Heaven

As Jesus was talking to the people, a voice came from heaven resounded ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”


When the voice from heaven resounded, the people thought it was a clap of thunder or an angel speaking. But Jesus tells them that the voice is for the people and not for Him.


Hence, God is using this hour to reveal to the people who Jesus is like He did to the apostles in the mountain of transfiguration.


God is inviting the people to believe that Jesus is truly the Messiah they have been waiting for. His death is not a way of defeat but a way to save them. His death leads to the defeat of the powers of Satan and the revelation of God’s glory. 


It was during this encounter, that Jesus says that now is the time for the Prince of this world, to be overthrown and conquered.


So, the suffering and death of Jesus is a way of victory. He is going to die but his death is a way to live.


The salvation the people want will be given to them on the cross of Calvary. Through this, the world will know how God loves the world, that He can give His only Son to die for their sake. 

Therefore, to live, Jesus has to die. To save, Jesus has to go through the cross.


Therefore, this is a self-sacrificing love that must be at the heart and principle of every Christian and child of God. 


If We Want to Follow Jesus


In the gospel, Jesus says “whoever serves me must follow me and my servant will be with me wherever I am”.


In essence, if we truly want to follow Jesus and serve Him, we must make a willing sacrifice. We have to sacrifice everything that will keep us away from His love. 


In every sacrifice, something must die for something to be achieved. In the Old Testament, the patriarchs use rams, goats, oxen etc., for sacrifice.


 So, we have to put to death every aspect of our lives that leads us to disobedience to God’s word. We burn this up as a sacrifice to God. 


This is what connects us to the second reading. The second reading emphasizes that that Jesus obeys through suffering. But having been made perfect, He became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.

So, to achieve eternal life, we owe God nothing but our obedience to His word.

In the gospel, the prayers of Jesus were heard because of His reverent submission to the will of the Father.

We too should learn how to submit ourselves to God in all things, knowing that He is the one who can save us.

Jesus became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. Therefore, salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His teachings and not disobedience.

Also, Jesus, though He was the Son of God, obeyed and submitted through suffering. This teaches us that even in our own sufferings, we can still keep to our obedience.

Therefore, the time of suffering is not a time to lose faith in God or disobey Him.


The Law is written In Our Hearts.


The first reading emphasizes on the establishment of a new covenant between God and His people. It highlights that this new covenant will not be like the previous one because the people had broken it.


In this new covenant, God promises to write His law on the minds and hearts of His people. They will have a personal and intimate knowledge of God, and there will be no need for others to teach them since everyone will know the Lord.


This new covenant also emphasizes forgiveness, as God promises to remember their sins no more. Ultimately, it speaks of a deeper, transformed relationship with God.


This particular passage was written during a time of great turmoil and impending judgment for the people of Israel.

At this time, the people of Israel had turned away from God and broken the covenant that He had made with them. They had engaged in idolatry and followed after false gods.


As a result, God allowed them to be conquered and taken into exile by foreign nations.

So, during the time of Jeremiah, God promises that He will restore them again, and creates new covenant with them.


He declares that this new covenant will not be like the previous one, which the people had broken. This new covenant will be internal, written on the hearts and minds of the people, rather than on tablets of stone.


God also promises to forgive their sins and to remember their transgressions no more. He also promises that all the people will know Him, from the least to the greatest.


This new covenant signifies a deep, personal relationship with God, where His law is inwardly understood and followed willingly.


Therefore, God yearns for a personal relationship with Him that comes from our hearts and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.


God yearns for true obedience to His words that willingly comes from our hearts. We have to live not only by bread or what we shall eat but by willingly abiding in His word.



Unless You Hate Your Life.



1.One of the ways we can learn to live is to hate our lives. In verse 25, Jesus says “Anyone who loves his life loses it and anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”


If we take this literally we may think Jesus is advising us not to take care of our lives. The two outstanding words used here are love and hate. 


The greek uses φιλῶν (philōn) meaning loving, fondly delights in, always loving and μισῶν (misōn) for hate, meaning hating, not concerned etc.


Hence, Jesus means anyone who is always concerned and fondly delights in enjoying His life will lose it, but the one who does not will find it.


Hence, Jesus is not advising you to hate your life but not to concern yourself about the things of life to the extent that you lose your soul. 


2.The person who loves his life is the one whose interest is only to enjoy the present. He is willing not to serve Jesus but to enjoy his life first. He does not care about the welfare of his soul.


His concern is far from “Laying up treasure in heaven” (Matt 6:20). He lives like the carnal man and interested only in laying up treasures for himself on earth.

Enjoying life is his priority over serving Jesus. Such a person will only lose the life He seeks to preserve.  



3.The one who hates his life is the person who is living for the life to come. He is willing to sacrifice anything to keep his relationship with God. He obeys God at all cost. No matter the temptation, he is willing to keep his faith in God very strong.


Jesus says that such a person who serves Him like this, and willing to lay down his life for Him will be honoured by God (John 12:26).




1. In the first reading, God makes a new covenant with the people with the law written in their hearts and no longer on tablets of stone.


In this covenant, He says “I will be their God and they shall be my people. God hence means He is their ultimate ruler and guide. He takes care and provides for them, while they owe Him their service and obedience.


No one is to remind them again of what to do because deep inside their hearts they know what to do and what to avoid.

Therefore, to be true children of the Most High God, Nothing is supposed to come in between this relationship. But today we have forgotten that we have God. We live as if God does not exist.


We neglect God’s words to live the way we want. This is a call to put to death everything that makes us forget God. We are the people of God. Therefore, the word “of” means that we belong to God.

Hence, we have to live like people who have a Guide and Father. 


2. Jesus says “Unless a grain of wheat dies it will not bring about abundant harvest”. Jesus loved us so much that He is willing to lay down His life for us. He did this so that we may have life and have it in abundance (John 10:10).


Jesus surrendered His life for us. To gain eternal life we have to follow His way. We have to surrender our lives to Him.


This is the only cross we have to carry which is the little burden we have to carry for the sake of our love for Him. He said my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11;28-30). It is the willingness to say no to sin and live for God.


3. Unless a grain of wheat dies is also a secret of success. To achieve success we have to die to laziness, die to procrastination, die to fear and other causes of failure.


We have to be willing to sacrifice our time and pleasures to be able to achieve what we want. In the same way, if we want to achieve eternal life, we have to die to sin, hatred, wickedness, unfaithfulness to God, immorality, lack of reverence for God, etc.

When we die to them, our lives hence will begin to change. We begin to live for God.


4. If you want to progress, then you have to die to anything that limits your progress in life. If you want peace in your family, the family has to die anything that will bring disorder in the family.


Hence, if we truly want our lives to change, everything that causes us distraction must be put to death. When these die, a new form of life germinates.


5. Unless a grain of wheat dies also speaks directly to our spiritual lives. If we truly want to have a good relationship with God, we have to put death to all that distracts us from this relationship.

We cannot claim to be sons and daughters of God but yet we do not have His time. 

We do not claim to be sons and daughters of God but yet we prefer to enjoy life, but neglect God entirely. If God is truly our God then nothing is supposed to come in between our relationship with Him.

Anything that wants to come in between must be put to death, Therefore, let us remain strong in the Lord. He loves, He blesses and Only He can give eternal life.


May God help us to remain close to Him. Amen. Happy Sunday.


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