Gospel 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 honor whoever serves me.”
The Baptized are the seed that falls to the ground and dies; in the baptismal rite the person dies to themselves, dies to sin and rises in Christ:
“For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.” Colossians 2:11-12 .
“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.” Romans 6:4-5
In our death to sin and our rising to a new life in Christ, we are able to become that which produces much fruit, nourished by the word and the holy Eucharist. We are reminded each year of this death to sin in the renewal of the baptismal vows celebrated at the Easter vigil when the water of the baptismal font is blessed and the congregation renews their vows. The extent one practices these vows (desire) gives the abundance of fruit. This dying of the grain of wheat is the start of the mass when we make the sign of the cross with holy water from the font, we feed on the fruit at the Eucharist, and in turn are nourished to bear fruit; we can grow.
Today, the feast of St. Vincent is also the celebration of the dying of a seed, so that it might bear much fruit. Vincent died the martyrs death and martyrdom in the church is also baptism;”baptism by blood” The Church also recognizes “baptism by desire” for those who prepare for the sacrament yet are unable to receive it. It is that desire for baptism, that desire to die to sin and live in Christ that produces a greatest abundance of fruit. That desire should be refreshed, and that is the purpose of the sprinkling of holy water; water is necessary for growth in more ways than one. A seed can not grow without it. “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.”Ezechiel 36:24-26