The Song of the Wheat
Banjo Patterson is on our $10 note, as is Dame Mary Gilmore (the great, great Aunt of our Prime Minister). He was born in 1864, she in 1865. He died in 1941, she in 1962.
Banjo obviously believed in the resurrection:
When the stock is swept by the hand of fate,
Deep down in his bed of clay
The brave brown Wheat will die and wait
For the resurrection day:
Lie hid while the whole world thinks him dead;
But the Spring-rain soft and sweet,
Will over the steaming paddocks spread
The first green flush of the Wheat.
How might we live the resurrection in our lives? Three M-Words come to mind.
The initial greetings at Mass try to focus our attention on the fact that we are – through our Baptism – the Body of Christ. We are the Lord’s community with the mission of the Gospel. We then call to mind – in a generic sort of way – our sins.
Enter mercy. We plead for mercy, for mercy transforms evil into good. Only God can do this. This is a most important part of Mass. Treasure it. As the “Lord have mercy” is prayed, think of the difficult – at times evil – moments during your week (or day) and simply lay it before our Most Merciful Father. Let those moments and events be transformed.
In Philippians 3, St. Paul says that “all he wants to know is the power of Christ’s resurrection so that he might imitate Jesus in his death.” It is impossible to live the life of Christ on our own strength. We come to birth by being baptised into Christ’s death and resurrection. We are nourished by the Eucharist – the Body and Blood of Christ. We are granted the grace of Christian maturity through Confirmation. These sacraments of initiation are full of grace.
So, yes, forget about trying to follow Christ with human strength and ingenuity. It doesn’t work. It never has worked. It never will work. Let’s prostrate ourselves, like the “healed leper” (Luke 17) before Jesus and ask to know and love his resurrection. Then, and only then, can we “die” to self.
One of the earliest names given to the Eucharist is the “Medicine of Immortality.” When they gathered for the celebration of the Eucharist they had a vivid sense of the possibilities of resurrection. So, for instance, St. Irenaeus (130-202AD) asked the question, “If God can change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, why would he not be able to raise a corpse from the dead?”
It is a penetrating question, giving deep insight into the intimate connection the early Christians made between the Eucharistic ritual bequeathed to us by Jesus and resurrection. This type of thinking should really influence our thoughts and feelings as we come to Communion each Sunday, for we are receiving the “medicine of immortality.”
I mentioned three M-Words. There is another, of course, as you well know. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) claimed that “music is entirely necessary for salvation.” She was a botanist, musician, religious sister, theologian, preacher to popes, bishops, priests, and most likely a mystic.
Why the claim? Because music is beautiful. It lifts the soul, arouses the senses and delights the spirit. It is surely a touch and foretaste of the resurrection.
Mercy, Morality, Medicine and Music – with these, we too, can “spread the first green flush of the Wheat.”