“We have seen incredible things today.”
A desert landscape may be distantly removed from one’s location, but that same landscape is within our spiritual DNA. Parched, dry, uninhabited, lifeless; forlorn describes a casual observation of desert, and the desert within us seems to have the same qualities. But look again. Rain will fall—eventually; insects thrive; flora blooms and regenerates; and the fauna rely on the flora. The “barren” desert is alive but only needs close observation to realize how alive it really is.
However, the ancient believers saw the desert as something different. It was a place of suffering and soul searching compared to the lush lands of the fertile crescent. But for our spiritual ancestors, the desert was more a metaphor, albeit the exodus was rough travel. For here in this wilderness, God manifested his goodness and glory. In these opening chapters is the story of salvation recounted in wonderful images of transformation.
Streams will burst forth in the desert and rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water.
Such a physical change would indeed be a curious event, but as a metaphor for our spiritual desert within, we will blossom; we will be safe, and we will exalt in the knowledge that God is with us. The desert of our lives teems with spiritual nourishment, and we will be saved by the cross. We are called to be close observers.
Then what surprises us most: a paralyzed man is cured, or his sins are forgiven? Regardless, like the desert, the transformation is physical and cosmic. No wonder they exclaimed, ‘“We have seen incredible things today.”
This is our mantra, our response to all of God’s creation, and his wonderful care for us.
Let Us Pray:
Triune Lord, teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe, for all things speak of you. Awaken our praise and thankfulness for every being that you have made. Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is. (From Pope Francis. “A Christian prayer in union with creation” in Laudato Sí—On Care for Our Common Home.)
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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