Eternal life lies at end of the path through suffering
“In today’s Gospel, we get a hint that Jesus no longer sees his ministry as solely for the Jews. He is increasingly aware that other nations are being attracted to him and to his message - and sees in the interest a sign that the time is coming when he is to be glorified.
“Jesus uses a very simple analogy - one familiar to anyone who has grown seed. When we sow a seed, there comes a point where the seed ceases to exist. It becomes soft and collapses as the new life germinates within it. If the same seed had fallen onto a path or onto stony ground, it would have been trodden underfoot or gradually died from dehydration. Translated into human terms, such a death is meaningless - a life has been lived and has ended.
“For many people today, that is the sum total of what they expect from life. They will be born - live - die - and then, that will be the end.
“As Christians, we believe that there is more to life - and death. Jesus himself did not relish the path that he was bidden to follow - but how could he ask that he be excused? Wasn’t this why he came into the world?
“Neither could he ask that his followers be excused that path. But, what we as his followers know is that it isn’t a path to suffering but, rather, a path through suffering.”
-- A reflection on the Gospel by Catherine McElhinney and Kathryn Turner