Humanity is white for harvest

 

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Don’t you say, ‘There are four more months and then comes the harvest?’ I tell you, look up and see the fields that are already white for harvest!” John 4

harvest and barley fields Sea of Galilee
Fields of barley and the Mount Arbel, near the Sea of Galilee

Passing through the countryside I saw these fields of barley, near Magdala, and I immediately thought of this phrase of Jesus.These fields are white for harvesting. I took this picture about ten days ago, at the end of April; in Israel the countryside is ahead of the nations further north, here it is already summer, we are even below sea level. The sun hits hard and the light is brighter than we are used to, in the central hours of the day it is blinding and all the colors of nature “whiten”.


The whitening, therefore, is not given only by the variation of the colour from the green of the unripe ear to the yellow of the mature one. The ear, which is us, is complete only if it is ripened and struck by the divine light, which is white and shining, and which it in turn reflects, as in the photo.

Humanity is white for harvest, like the cloud of the Son of Man…

“Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe”. So the one seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped” Rev 14

 

Fields of barley near the Sea of Galilee

 

Each of us will be harvested, and being ready for that moment is the most important thing of all.

We probably don’t have any desire and we don’t feel ready to be reaped at all. This uncertainty is beneficial because it forces us to reflect and try to improve ourselves continuously, without ever feeling that we have arrived or are completely safe.


We are fragile beings, and the Lord knows it, he sees that we laboriously walk the path of life, groping around, and he has compassion on us. And He sees very well if we do what we can, even if with poor results, or if we do not take care at all to prepare for the harvest.

 

Fields of barley, near the Sea of Galilee, harvest

                                                                                                                                                                                              

Nothingless

 

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Taylor Swift prays to Jesus too

 

“One world: Togheter at Home” is the name of the event organized by many artists led by Lady Gaga to comfort people in this time of emergency and raise funds. The timetables were designed for America, in Israel in fact the highlight was on air at 2 am… So, given the impossible time, this morning, after having done my usual prayers, as a good music lover I went to see if they had made it available on You Tube for those who missed it.

Of course I didn’t put up with the endless 8 hours of the broadcast, but I went to see what interested me.

In the end, penultimate, sang Taylor Swift who had chosen her beautiful song “Soon you’ll get better” dedicated to her parents, about the battles they have had with cancer, and specifically on her mother’s latest diagnosis.

The artists presented themselves in different ways: playful or worried, joking or serious and even a little tried. And we are all able to see when someone’s displeasure is true or it’s a pose….

Taylor was admirable, she was really sad and in a somewhat resigned tone and with a simple and honest attire she sang this song, sketching a shy smile at the end and showing a sincere suffering, a sign of her hypersensitive and compassionate soul. This was an appropriate way of showing closeness to those who in this emergency have experienced real tragedies such as the loss of loved ones, or went bankrupt and have nothing to eat.

To my surprise, while listening to the song, Taylor mentioned Jesus expressly, making an explicit profession of faith, here are some of her lyrics:

Holy orange bottles (the medicine bottles I guess), each night I pray to you

Desperate people find faith, so now I pray to Jesus too

And I say to you

Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better

 

It is impressive to see how this time of struggle has led many to Jesus.

For if anyone is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” Mk 8:38. “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge him before God’s Angels” Lk 12:8

For this beautiful profession of faith Taylor will have her reward. Contrary to her collection of Grammy Awards …. which are also beautiful and deserve all our respect, the rewards that Jesus gives us are eternal and will never go out of fashion nor will there be anyone who bypasses them in the hit parade. It took just one word, just more than a syllable, to mention the name of Jesus, to transform a beautiful song into something eternal.

And if from the title of Taylor’s latest album “Lover”, from the flagship song which describes the complex and painful story with a “lover”, -with the clear desire to transform this relationship into something stable though- … one would not have expected a particular devotion, this story confirms instead that no one has the right to judge the faith of another. In the depths of every man, in fact, even when everything would suggest otherwise, there is a yearning for the Absolute that no one can suppress.

This singer, with a simple word, has offered a beautiful testimony and we too can do the same thing in our lives, humble and hidden, sometimes gray, but equally important in the eyes of God. The testimonies of believers, in fact form an invisible chain, which produces a divine symphony and attracts others. And if seeing a famous person who turns to Jesus strikes us, we should reflect on the fact that each of us has met less conspicuous people in life who have spent their lives for God, perhaps your grandparents or your parents, or any other person who has offered us a testimony of faith, and this should already be enough to convince us that trusting in Jesus is the best thing we can do.

 

Simon Dewey - Daughter Arise, Taylor Swift prays Jesus
Jesus heals a young girl      (S. Dewey, Daughter Arise)

 

The Lord waits for us to turn to Him, waits patiently, and too many people live an existence without him, depriving themselves of the strength of his consolation, until the time comes to return.

 

 

 

And there is even more beautiful news here: if someone wants to talk to us, we are happier if he is a famous or important person. God does not do this, because

man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” 1Sam 16:7

As soon as we turn to him, Jesus loves us all with exactly the same immense love. Indeed, he prefers the smallest, the humble and those who have suffered most, those who have been rejected and therefore have a special place in his heart. He prefers them, however, in a mysterious way: if we think that after all we cannot be counted among these little ones we do not have the right to feel excluded, in fact his love is immense. My immense how much is: 5 or 10?! And what is your immense: 20 or 30? Where there is something immense, nothing can be measured and no one lacks anything, indeed there is a total overabundance for each.

God is the only one capable of encompassing and embracing everything and everyone, capable of encompassing and embracing Taylor Swift, you, me and every other person who has loved and even rejected him.

                                                                                                                                                                         Nothingless

 

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What Coronavirus Covid-19 vaccine?

 

Take courage; it is I. Do not be afraid! Mt 14:27

In these times of calamity we are all afraid. The uncertainty of the future stands out like a boulder on our horizon… some people are already facing poverty and we all had to revise our plans. The solution to everything, the object of desire, the savior of the world, seems to be a cure for this disease, the coveted Coronavirus vaccine. Everyone, as is understandable, pray that this disease will be defeated and this terrible period will end.

Everything that is happening looks tremendously like a storm, the storm on the Sea of Galilee that Pope Francis has chosen for his meditation, listened to by millions of people connected with the media and by flocks of birds, the only spectators in St. Peter’s Square.

Jesus sleeps on the boat during the storm

 

 

 

This is the same storm that the Apostles experienced, the storm that no man, after all, could ever escape. In the Gospels there are 2 storms. In one the boat is sinking and is covered by the waves and Jesus rebukes the Apostles: “Why are you fearful, O you little in faith?” (Mt 8).

 

In the other one Jesus sends the disciples forward on the boat and reaches them walking on the waters, saying to his disciples “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid!“, and Matthew reports the moment when Peter gets off the boat and walks on the waters and the Lord says to him as he is sinking in fear: “Little of faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt 14).

Each of us doubted and was afraid a lot of times. Our fears are sometimes unreasonable, but other times they are more than understandable. It is unreasonable, for example, to fear God as a severe being…which leads us to bury the talent we have received for fear of making mistakes. Jesus urges us to fight against fear, both the unreasonable and the reasonable fear. Fear makes us sick and paralyzes us, we waste a lot of time and fantasize about what might happen (but probably never will), without focusing on what is really within our reach and we can do good and beautiful today. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father. But of you, also, the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows!” (Mt 10) …

 

 

The questions that stir in everyone’s heart in these moments are distressing and full of fear: what will happen? How long will this last? Will the people I love and myself manage to survive? Will we have enough to live, or will all our dreams be shattered? Will we still be able to go to Mass or enjoy a nice walk, a trip, a movie night, a sports event, a concert, a simple visit to our friends and family? All the “entertainment” in which we sought an escape from the dramas of existence has suddenly vanished, leaving us alone with “the unbearable heaviness of being”.

Despite all the Master’s recommendations not to be afraid when “they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them… they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid” (Mk 10), and we too, we must admit, are no better than them… Jesus exhorts us to faith and to overcome our fears even when everything seems to collapse and the worst is now inevitable. Each one of us can ask God to increase his faith, then we will no longer be so easily upset by foolish fears and not even by the most reasonable ones. We will continue to experience fear, but in a different way.

Yet Jesus does not ask us to become supermen. Jesus looked realistically at us and prophesied that in the last times “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Lk 21).

And at the hour of his perfect storm even Jesus “began to be sorrowful and agonized” (Mk 14), “in his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Lk 22). Sweating blood, doctors say, occurs only in an extreme experience of anguish and fear, the most extreme that a man can sustain. Why did Jesus exhort us so much not to be afraid, if he himself experienced anguish and fear???

Because He wants us to be happy, but He also knows very well that there are fears that no one, not even the Son of God, can avoid. There will be moments in life when by Grace we manage to be less fearful and even to overcome many of our fears. But the perfect storm comes for everyone: then the Lord does not ask us for the impossible, that is not to be afraid, but to live that fear in a new way, keeping in our heart the light of faith and the warmth of hope, in the certainty that “also the hairs of our head are all numbered“.

Sooner or later this period will pass, and then, even if we will finally be vaccinated against the Coronavirus, we will not have been able to overcome our fears. We will go back to being fearful and frightened again for the next virus or the next war or economic crisis or a tiny mosquito that prevents us from sleeping or yet another dramatic event that will happen in our lives, giving us the appointment to the next “perfect storm”.

We need the vaccine for our fears, the real one, the one that lasts forever. It’s foolish to remain so at the mercy of the waves for the rest of our lives, it’s time to believe now in Jesus’ words “Take courage; it is I. Do not be afraid!even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrowsAnd, behold, I am with you all the days, until the consummation of the world“.

We need a ventilator with oxygen so as not to die suffocated by our fears of today and tomorrow. “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage – I have conquered the world!” (John 16). When the hour of inevitable fear and anguish comes, we will be able to live it in the certainty that God leads and protects our lives and human history. We will be afraid, we will also sweat blood perhaps, and we will suffer again, but the light of divine warmth can never be extinguished in our hearts by no virus, no war, no poverty, no dramatic event, no fear.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                              Nothingless

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Tell in the light

“What I tell you in the dark, tell in the light, and what you hear in your ears, proclaim on the roofs”

Dear readers,

this is my first post and like every first time there is a certain emotion… “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). Each of us can create something, by God’s gift, and participate in His creative work. In the end I became convinced that I had to somehow bring out the talent I had received, but it was not easy to overcome my natural reluctance.

Jesus invites us first of all to humility, and then tells us that He is the light of the world

sunset in Galilee, near Tabgha

and that we too are this same light of the world, like a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden. He speaks of our light that should shine before others and of the good works that the disciples must do so that men may glorify our Father, who is in heaven. He invites us to hidden prayer, and to be careful not to practice our righteousness before men, to be seen by them. Yet it also urges to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth. He gives the example of the yeast that must leaven everything, of the salt that has lost its taste and it is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. And He says again: If these will keep silent, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40).

Jesus invites us to speak in the “light”, out in the open, transparently and frankly, and even to go up to the roof to announce what he has just whispered to us in the darkness. The messengers of the Gospel should be like this: they have nothing to do with the secrets, deceptions, hypocrisies, utilitarian calculations and diplomatic methods of this world. The messengers of the Gospel have transparent relationships with others and clearly announce a clear message. The simple and luminous message of Jesus, a message that is light and must be said in light, a message that is peace and love. The message of Jesus is a Gospel, which is good news. Some people do not accept it because the enemy steals the words sown in their hearts. Other people do not accept it because we Christians are incoherent and what we preach does not sound like “good news”, because of the historical and contemporary contradictions of the church and each of us. We are not capable of proposing Jesus to others as He is. Instead, we propose Him filtered through our categories, institutions, theologies that have become more important than God Himself, and our obsolete ecclesiastical garments…. For this reason, if we want to obey God and “tell in the light” His message, our main commitment must be to go to the heart of it, to prune it from the rust accumulated over the centuries and with simplicity, without proselytism, to propose it to others.

 

Lord of light, you who are light,

make all our proclamations always and only light,

so that something of you, even through us,

can reach our brothers and sisters.

Amen

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