😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace and presence be with you. In the spring of 2021 Brian was looking at the landscape in our backyard and said he wanted to pull out two hydrangea plants that hadn’t bloomed in 7 years. I convinced him to leave them for one more year. If they didn’t bloom, then we would pull them the following spring. So, there’re a couple reasons why I bring this up. First, because it’s spring, one year later. Second, last weekend at Mass the Gospel reading concluded with Luke 13: 6-9, the parable of the barren fig tree.
“And He told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”
Before I tell you the verdict on the hydrangea plants, I also want to share with you a reading from 2 Kings 5. It starts out introducing us to Naaman, an army commander for the king of Aram. As the reading tells us, Naaman was valiant, but he was also a leper. He had a servant girl from the land of Israel who suggested that he present himself to the prophet in Israel. With his king’s permission and treasures, Naaman set out for Israel. It took him a few stops, but he eventually ended up at the door of Elisha’s house.
2 Kings 5: 10-14 “Elisha sent him the message: “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.” But Naaman went away angry, saying, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand there to call on the name of the LORD his God, and would move his hand over the place, and thus cure the leprous spot. Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?”* With this, he turned about in anger and left. But his servants came up and reasoned with him: “My father, if the prophet told you to do something extraordinary, would you not do it? All the more since he told you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times, according to the word of the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”
It’s very easy to miss, but a lot of what God asks and prompts us to do are very common, ordinary, everyday things. The gardener in Luke’s Gospel, wasn’t giving up on the fig tree so easily. He was going to work the soil and spread some manure around it. With the owner focusing on that tree, I imagine the gardener also made sure it had plenty of water and also pruned it. We don’t know how the fig tree turns out, but I can tell you that no, I didn’t cultivate the soil around the hydrangea. I didn’t fertilize them. I didn’t water them. Although I did prune them like we do every year. In case you didn’t already know this, God has a sense of humor. You see, in this eighth year, God allowed one flower on each of the hydrangea plants to bloom. I laughed right along with God. And yes, the plants are staying.
Over the next few days, maybe focus a little more than usual on the everyday tasks and interactions you have with others. There may be more meaning and divine intervention going on that you aren’t aware of.
Bless others and be blessed.
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#CastingCrowns – What If I Gave Everything