A promise of blooms

    December 11, 2023
    Advent reflection day 9 graphic. Watercolor brush strokes of a bare tree branch.

    “The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
    They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song.”
    -Isaiah 35:1-2

    In times of struggle in our work it can be reassuring to imagine ourselves “planting seeds.” Sometimes we see the fruit of our work and sometimes things remain dormant for a long, long time. How many of our clients are walking through a desert right now? They struggle with hunger, housing insecurity, loneliness, chronic illnesses and family separation. It can be easy to feel discouraged when we think our food isn’t enough, or when we realize we can’t cure or solve every problem.

    However, we can find hope in today’s readings. There is a promise of blooms, abundance and growth in the desert. For the steppe to bloom with abundant flowers, there must be seeds under the sand. Seeds that were sown by hands strengthened by God. Our cans of food, our visits with seniors, our prescriptions filled may seem small day to day, but together can change the life of those we serve. Our acts of service can bring joyful songs to kitchens, clinics and homes of refugees.

    In the Gospel reading today we hear the famous story of the healing of the paralyzed man. Last year, when teaching this story to a group of fourth graders, we focused on the viewpoint of the men who lowered him through the roof. What friends he had! How important it is to work together to advocate for those in need. We cannot sow seeds alone, but we must collaborate and work with others.

    Today, let us give thanks to those who serve with us. Let us look around and recognize who is clawing through a straw roof to give a chance to someone in need! Let us also recognize when it is us who need to be lowered in front of Jesus, to hear the words “your sins are forgiven.”

    For reflection:
    What seeds are we sowing right now?
    What blooms am I hoping to see?
    Who walks with us through the desert?

    Devyn Buschow is Parish Relations Program Manager at Catholic Charities Dallas.

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