Unless a grain of wheat dies, it remains just a dried-up, useless seed. But if it goes into the ground and returns to the soil from which it came, it becomes a new living, life-giving plant. “Where I am there also is my servant,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel. When I lie in death, you will lie in death with me, but when I rise from the dead, you will rise with me. Am I ready to die with Him? The only way to rise with him is first to die with Him.
It was not any easier for Jesus to die than it is for any man to die. “With loud cries and tears,” as the second reading says, he prayed not to die. “Father, please, let this cup pass from me,” he prayed in the Garden. Hebrews asserts that it was because of his reverence that he was saved. He didn’t just respect God, and he didn’t just show “tolerance” to God. He reverenced him, like we do at Mass. “Tolerance” is the civic virtue our government promotes, but I don’t want to merely tolerate others and be tolerated by them. I want to love and be loved. Respect isn’t even enough for me. I need loving reverence from those I love, and so do you.
In this Mass, when we show reverence for God—in small things, like keeping silence in the church, or genuflecting before the tabernacle, or kneeling at the consecration—we show how much we love Him, and are even ready to die with him. “Tolerance” and “respect” are not enough for us. We need to reverence God and others, and receive reverence in return. This deeper love is not beyond our capacity. Our Lady, God’s blessed mother, will help us to reverence, and even give our lives for God, so that after we die, we will rise with him to heaven.