Clinging to and Letting Go: Reflections on the Sunday Gospel John 12:20-33 by Father Steven LaBaire

father steven labaireI am pleased to present this guest post from Father Steven LaBaire, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Worcester, MA.

In preparation for mass this Sunday:

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.” That’s from this coming Sunday’s gospel reading.

Tim VanReenen, Flickr Creative Commons
Tim VanReenen, Flickr Creative Commons

I’m reminded that every step of life, every advance toward growth and maturity requires a kind of “letting go” and the “death” of something that once was in order that something better and more fruitful can come to life.

Couples in love

A young couple in love learn this quite soon into their relationship. Gone are the days of endless freedom and going and doing “whatever I want, whenever I want.” Now, love compels them to navigate life together, conscious and mindful of each other’s needs and feelings. If either of them tries to cling too much to the way things were before, the relationship will not survive. A sacrifice, a “letting go” is necessary in order for love to thrive.

Expecting a child

This same young couple will relearn the lesson of “ letting go” all over again on the day they learn that they are expecting a child. Once again they will be challenged to “die to self” to that they can live their lives more focused on the life that will soon be born. In doing so, they will discover love on a new and different plane.

All of us, whether married or single, young or old, are caught up in the process of letting a part of our lives die in order to discover a fuller life.

Loss of our youth and the changing landscape

martinak15 Let Go
martinak15 Let Go, Flickr Creative Commons

Some of us mourn the loss of our youth. Others confront the death of some of their dreams. Or, we may be grieving the loss of a certain idea about God or the Church or even a fantasy or plan about how life was “supposed” to be. No one says all this letting go stuff is easy. It’s tough to do.

Which way is life-giving?

But, clinging to what can no longer be is draining and ultimately toxic.  The journey of the Christian is an on-going embrace of the journey: to “let go” and embrace a new reality so as to allow the blooming of a new season of life, of existence.

Death to life

This is the faith that live even to the threshold of our own death where we relinquish the “outer shell” and everything familiar to us, so as to be embraced by something infinitely more awesome than what we can imagine. This whole journey goes to the heart of what Easter is all about.

So, how are you doing? How are we doing… on the journey?

Copyright 2015 Steven Michael LaBaire

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