Friday of the Third week in Ordinary Time
“First the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear”
This present life is a path leading to the end of our hope in the same way that we see fruit on the shoots as they begin to emerge from flower and which, thanks to the flower, comes into existence as fruit even if the flower is not itself the fruit. Even so, the harvest born of sowing does not immediately appear with its ear but the blade first springs up and then, once the blade has died, the stem of corn rises up and in this way the fruit ripens at the head of the ear…
Our Creator has not destined us for an embryonic life; nature’s goal is not the life of the newborn. Neither does it envisage the successive ages that it puts on with time in the process of the growth that alters its form, nor the dissolution of the body following on from death. All these states are stages along the way on which we advance. The goal and end of the journey through these stages is the divine likeness…; the awaited end of life is blessedness. But today, all that concerns the body – death, old age, youth, childhood and the formation of the embryo – all these states like so many plants, stalks and ears, form a pathway, a succession and a potential that makes possible the hoped for maturity.
Saint Gregory of Nyssa (c.335-395), monk and Bishop
Sermon on the deceased