Psalm 51:3-4, 12-15
Whoever serves me must follow me. (John 12:26)
You might wonder whether Jesus is giving the cold shoulder to these Greeks. They seem anxious to talk to him, but they can’t seem to get a word in. Upon hearing that they want to see him, Jesus gives an enigmatic response: “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). What kind of an answer is that?
Actually, it’s the right answer! These Gentile converts to Judaism have come to worship at the Passover feast, but Jesus is saying that their Passover will not happen until after his resurrection. He is the “grain of wheat” who will be a sacrifice for sin. His death was necessary so that he could produce “much fruit” in the form of salvation for everyone. No one will be excluded, not even these Gentiles!
Today we can celebrate the fact that we too were once outsiders but are now a part of the “in crowd.” Most of the people reading these words are Gentiles, not a part of the chosen people with whom God first made his covenant. We “once were far off” but have been brought near to God “by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). We are his adopted children, and there is no better family to be part of.
A question to reflect on, then, is “How welcoming am I to those I may consider outsiders?” We all have some notion of who belongs in church and who doesn’t: that old man who never seems to smile. That couple whose kids can’t sit still at Mass. That young man who seems too “liberal” or that older woman who seems too “conservative.” They are all part of our family. They have all been grafted into Christ along with us. May we treasure each of them just as much as Jesus treasures us!
“Thank you, Lord, for welcoming me into your family. Teach me how to be just as welcoming. May I exclude no one from receiving my attention, consideration, and friendship.”~WAU