Not only Jews and Pharisees were in Jerusalem for the Passover feast, but also a group of uncircumcised Greeks who sympathized with Judaism. Pious pagans wanted to see Jesus. Informed about this, Jesus exclaims, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Jesus’s hour is his glorification through his passion, death and resurrection.
The glorification is illustrated by the example of the grain of wheat that must die in the ground in order to bear fruit; otherwise, it remains sterile. Likewise, Jesus must die and be buried in the ground in order to rise again and draw all people to himself. The wheat grain that falls into the earth dies and bears much fruit. The fertile land, according to St. Ephraim, is the Virgin, who becomes Mother thanks to an incorruptible seed, that is, the Word of God. Her womb becomes the abode of the Word. In her, the Word assumes a body. The seed that falls into the ground, into the Virgin and Mother, bears fruit a hundredfold and becomes not only a single sheaf, but a whole wheat field. The entire history of salvation is depicted in this image: the Virgin Mother, sitting on the ground, is the good and fertile soil; she is truly a mother; she has the hips of a woman who has given birth, and the baby is sitting on her lap. This “sheaf”—Jesus—came into the creation through her and, with his little hand, he clings to her. The Virgin, with her hand set on the ground holds Jesus’ foot, which does not touch the ground, but rests in her hand. She is the ladder seen by Jacob, which has allowed Jesus to come down to earth. With the other hand, Mary lifts her cloak, as if she wanted to protect the Son who will leave her to die on the cross. Yet, precisely there, Jesus will extend his Mother’s maternity to all humankind, so that we can all feel her cloak, full of the motherly love that protects us. Christ’s gaze contains a hint of sadness, because the “wheat” will be ground. However, those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.