The world has witnessed new beginnings too innumerable to count. A few examples can help here. After the flood, the biblical Noah and his family started life afresh. In more recent history, after the First and Second World Wars people set about the task of rebuilding their families and nations. Again, after the 911 events, America set about rebuilding itself to face the challenges ahead. There are many examples to show how resilient human beings can be after undergoing tumultuous times.
Babies learn to walk. One-minute they fall but rise the next and continue their efforts. Parents smile with joy at their first steps. Babies learn to persevere. People who are ready to learn lessons from the past can reset their future today. And when you visualize how your future may be, then you can start building it here and now. The Christian man or woman is a person filled with faith that seeks to bloom in the present no matter how ugly conditions are.
The Prophet Isaiah wrote about blooming in the desert. It is impossible to imagine that a desert can bloom again with foliage, greenery, and vegetation. From an economic point of view, it is costly to irrigate the desert and transform it into a habitable land. By the same token, it is not impossible to embark on this when the benefits overshadow the costs. In this case, God is speaking through the Prophet Isaiah with promises of changing the landscape of the desert in a figurative way. He says to us, fear not. God will open the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf will be cleared, and the lame will leap with joy. The mute will also sing songs of praise to the living God. Joy will fall upon the people close to the Lord. He will ransom Zion and rebuild it. What an amazing cache of promises from one who knows the past, the present and the future!
After every tragedy, like the biblical floods, world wars, or personal misfortune, people learn to forgive themselves and start rebuilding. If we do not love what we do today, tomorrow will have no significance for our children. Listen to the message of John the Baptist. First and foremost, John's message was not for himself but for his listeners. He wanted them to prepare for their tomorrow. While in prison he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah or someone else. Jesus replied, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me."
Jesus knew that the era of John the Baptist was ending. He needed to continue the mission of strengthening the people of Israel so they could rebuild their nation and their lives. Jesus acknowledged that he was more than John the Baptist. In this gospel reading, we see the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. Does this not tell you something about human life?
The message for you this week is to bloom where you are planted. Some people envy the lives of others and in the process stop blooming. Rise up and live; bloom to the fullest. Your desert is over. God is fortifying you with the love of Jesus this Christmas. St James knew this. He tells us to avoid complaining, to stop judging, and to be patient. If you do not appreciate what you have, the joy of life will pass you by like "the midnight train to Georgia." If there is a message for you today, it is to rise and bloom where you are planted. Remember Noah left the ark centuries ago, and the world wars are ended. Tough times never last, but tough people do. Rebuild yourself and bloom in Christ for he is your hope. Keep praying!BACK TO LIST