Thursday of the second week of Lent
The readings for the day can be found here.
“Thus says the Lord: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no changed of season, But stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty Earth. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose home is in the Lord. He is a like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit. More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, To reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds.” (Jer. 17:5-10)
I think one of the things this reading is trying to communicate is that having complete trust in God affects our future, our faith, our stress, our happiness, and our sinfulness. Those who have complete confidence in God’s plan for them fully submit to the will of God and become like the tree planted beside the water: it continuously flourishes, even in the heat; it bears fruit, even in the drought. When I have complete faith in God, my roots stretch to Him, so that I can draw from the stream from where all growth flows. This is an essential concept to grasp because it means that in any circumstance in life, God is there and God is supplying me with what I need in order to grow and flourish. Without God, however, the stream is gone, and when adverse circumstances come up in life, when the drought comes, I become stressed and start to wither away. Only with God do I have the source and strength to be glorious in all circumstances.
When I trust in God by letting His plan flow through me and become my source of life, some changes start to occur within me. I become less stressed about the future, I become stronger in my faith in such a way that those around me sense it as well, my happiness is abundant even in unfavorable circumstances, and the temptation to sin is not as strong. When I make God the source of life for me, I truly begin to live. One cannot tell the tree that it should not take the water from the stream as its source of life, it makes no sense for the tree, yet every day I find that I have a choice and a battle between letting God provide for me through the stream or trying to get my own source of life. For the tree, drawing water from the tree makes sense and the tree would not and could not survive any other way. This is true with me as well. I cannot live without the true source of life that allows me to flourish; which is God. Then why do I debate with where to draw my source of life from when the answer is so obvious that even the tree knows? Why do I not choose to always draw my source of life from God instead of, at times, taking control and trying to find my own source of life? I should examine where I draw my source of life and pray for the grace to draw my source of life from God—from the unconditional and unfailing love of the Cross, which is what we will soon celebrate with Easter. Consider this, brothers and sisters, as you journey to the Cross with me this Lenten season: am I drawing my source of life from the pure and completely self-giving love of Jesus, whose sacrifice has made me whole, or am I searching for my own way, my own source?