Reflections on the Readings for Sunday 25 March 2012
Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51:3-4, 12-15; Hebrews 5:7-9; John 12:20-33
Transformation in the spiritual life is about becoming who we are created to be, like the seed which becomes the plant or the caterpillar which becomes the butterfly. The seed holds within itself the pattern of the plant it will become. No matter how much it may want to be a rose, the basil seed will become a fragrant herb, if it germinates and grows.
The psalmist prays: “Create in me a clean heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” To be transformed is to have a heart that is pure and steadfast so that we can live authentically from the centre of our being. In Psalm 51, David knows that he has strayed far from God, and that the only way back is to be radically renewed from within. And the prophet Jeremiah holds out the hope that such a yearning will become a reality. He speaks of a new covenant, written on the heart. In other words, we will live the life to which God calls us not as a struggle to conform to norms and standards externally imposed but as the expression of our deepest desire, from our heart.
Easter holds out the promise that such newness is possible. Easter is about transformation. There is struggle, grief and death, like the seed falling into the ground and dying. But it is the life inside, pushing to emerge, that splits the seed. The mystery of Easter is that at the point of death, new and transformed life is being born. The most radical beginnings are preceded by the most catastrophic of endings. When we are afraid to let go, to be undone, we are resisting life.