Reading I

 

A reading from the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 9:6-10)

 

Brothers and sisters:

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,

and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion,

for God loves a cheerful giver.

Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you,

so that in all things, always having all you need,

you may have an abundance for every good work.

As it is written:

He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;

his righteousness endures forever.

The one who supplies seed to the Sower and bread for food

will supply and multiply your seed

and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm (Ps 112:1-2, 5-6, 7-8, 9)

R. (5) Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.

Blessed the man who fears the LORD,

who greatly delights in his commands.

His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;

the upright generation shall be blessed.

R. he shall not fear;

his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.

His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear

till he looks down upon his foes.

R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.

Lavishly he gives to the poor,

his generosity shall endure forever;

his horn shall be exalted in glory.

R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.

 

 

 Alleluia (Jn 8:12)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness

but will have the light of life, says the Lord.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

 

 

GOSPEL OF THE DAY

From the Gospel according to John (Jn 12:24-26)

 

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.

Whoever loves his life loses it,

and whoever hates his life in this world

will preserve it for eternal life.

Whoever serves me must follow me,

and where I am, there also will my servant be.

The Father will honour whoever serves me.”

 

 

WORDS OF THE HOLY FATHER

And in order to explain the meaning of his death and Resurrection, Jesus uses an image and says: “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (v. 24). He wants to explain that his extreme fate — that is the Cross, death and Resurrection — is an act of fruitfulness — his wounds have healed us — a fruitfulness which will bear fruit for many. He thus compares himself to a grain of wheat which, rotting in the earth, generates new life. Jesus came to earth through the Incarnation, but this is not enough. He must also die to redeem man from the slavery of sin and to offer him a new life reconciled in love. I said “to redeem man”: but to redeem me, you, all of us, each of us. He paid that price. This is the mystery of Christ. Go towards his wounds, enter, contemplate, see Jesus — but from within. And this dynamism of the grain of wheat which was accomplished in Jesus must also take place within us, his disciples. We are called to take on the Paschal law of losing life in order to receive it renewed and eternal. (Angelus, 18 March 2018)