"He who sows in tears, reaps in joy". Why does the sower in Psalm 126 weep while sowing? In Scripture, sowing symbolizes a time of trial. The time we are living in is one of them. But there is the promise of the harvest.
Sowing presupposes working the land, often laboriously, in a stony land. The sower empties his sack: this implies detachment, a loss. Some seeds are smothered by stones and brambles, others eaten by birds. In the Scriptures the time of sowing is a time of trial. The harvest is a time of joy.
"Using the comparison of sowing and reaping, the psalm implicitly suggests that trial, like the grain that dies, can bear fruit and cause joy...Of all the setbacks in history, however tragic they may be, God can always bring forth a happy tomorrow (cf. John 16:20) .
The ordeal of the Coronavirus pandemic is a time of detachment and tears, like the time of sowing. Some have to detach themselves from a loved one who has been taken ill, others from a job or business. Many events have fallen by the wayside, as well as sports competitions.
These detachments are, at first, painful.
But if we live them in trust and hope in God and in love for our neighbour, I am sure that they will be the prelude to a harvest.
This psalm is close to the book of Joel, as Vesco notes: after the trial of his people, God "will do great things" (Joel 2:21; Ps. 126:2-3. This expression is found only in these two texts.
Reading Joel's book, with the trial of the Coronavirus in mind, is strikingly topical. Replacing, in chapter one, the invasion of insects by that of this virus one would think one was hearing the evening news!
The trial of the invasion of insects leads to the call to return to God, to fast and beg God (2:12-14). It is a call to "change our heart" (2:13) to return to the Lord, patient and of immense love.
God will then have mercy on his people and pour out his Spirit. (2,14-3,5). After the destruction of the locusts, there will be a great harvest and vintage (2,24; 4,18; cf. Ps 126,5-6).
It will be a time of revelation: "then you will understand that I am present among you" (2:37).
If the grain does not die...
With the image of the grain that dies (John 12:23-26) and bears much fruit, Jesus speaks of the mystery of his death and resurrection.
He is the great sower sowing God's love in humanity. A love that gives itself to the extreme, in tears and cries. The detachment experienced by Jesus in his cruel abandonment on a cross is the prelude to the resurrection and the gift of the Spirit. "Was it not necessary for Christ to suffer in this way before entering into his glory? "(Luke 24:26) No resurrection and life in the Spirit without the cross. No Easter and Pentecost without Good Friday.
Jesus, the Living One among us, is the one who experienced the most radical detachment. We can then live ours with him. He understands and hears our tears, encourages us and raises us up.
Every suffering can be lived in communion with the Risen One, always with us and present among those who unite in his name, he who took upon himself all our wounds. Every detachment lived in his communion and in welcoming with confidence his will is an open door to the Holy Spirit.
The seed, the resurrection of Christ and our own
In a chapter devoted to the resurrection, Paul recalls the heart of the Christian faith: Christ died according to the Scriptures and rose again three days later (1 Cor 15:3). He appeared to several apostles and disciples (vv. 5-8). Our faith is based on their testimony. And he adds: "If Christ has not risen, we have nothing to proclaim and you have nothing to believe" (v. 14). "The faith of Christians is the resurrection," said Tertullian, an eminent Christian of the third century.
Then Paul uses the symbol of the seed to speak of the resurrection of our body:
"What you sow is a simple seed, perhaps a grain of wheat or some other seed, not the plant itself that will grow". Then God allows that seed to give body to the plant he wants; to each seed corresponds the plant that is proper to it ...
It will be so when the dead are raised. When the body is put into the ground, it is corruptible; when it is raised, it is incorruptible" (v. 37-38, 42).
What Paul says about our own body promised to the resurrection concerns first of all the body of Christ who died and rose again. The resurrection of Jesus is the anticipation of our own resurrection. As he is, so shall we be.
We want to live in front of you
these times of great detachment.
Jesus, the Living One, you are with us...
until the end of time,
present among those
who unite in your name.
Nothing will be able to separate us
of you and each other.
You know the renunciations
to which we must consent
during this Coronavirus crisis.
You experienced them yourself,
in the extreme and radical way,
in your cruel abandonment on a cross.
That is why we come to you
to renew our confidence in you
and welcome each other into you.
Give each one of you the opportunity to find
trust and peace in you!
Bring us back to you, the benevolent one,
full of tenderness and immense kindness!
Have compassion on us and put an end to this pandemic!
Since that first day of the week
where the angel rolled the stone from the tomb,
the time that inexorably passes
In you, Jesus, are already found, by anticipation,
the energies of the future:
the new creation on which
the bite of time no longer has a grip.
When two or three of us get together..,
in your name, give us, Jesus,
to regain consciousness of it.
There you are, resurrected,
with the strength and radiance of your divinity.
You are rushing towards our hearts with an agile step
to encourage us and send us
in this passing world,
as witnesses to what remains
forever: your lively charity.
You want us to stand before you,
with your eyes fixed on you.
You're among us, alive.
Where two or three come together in your love,
you manifest yourself and give back dignity and freedom.
You want us to stand up in front of men,
to meet them in a sincere face-to-face.
Let no judgment bring us down!
Turn malevolence into benevolence
so that we can encourage each other
and look more and more like you!
When you pass among us
you don't leave us like we used to.
The look either converts or hardens.
The word springs up in praise or in judgment.
The spirit penetrates with benevolence or malevolence.
You the vine, without you the branches wither.
You the head, without you the body withers.
You the light, without you the intelligence is darkened.
Come yourself to visit us, invigorate us, teach us!
1] Jean-Luc Vesco, Le Psautier de David II, Le Cerf, Paris, 2006, p. 1204.