I’m really hoping it’s not too late.
Only now am I getting around to pruning our hydrangeas – both the established bushes in the back yard, and the tree hydrangea (hydrangea paniculata) planted last fall as the centerpiece of our new landscaping assortment just off our front porch.
The experts say this sort of pruning is best done in late fall or early winter. Of course, I didn’t start researching the question until early spring – so you could say I’m a bit behind schedule. Indeed: on all our plants, the tiny buds have already begun to leaf-out – leaving me to wonder whether we’ll enjoy beautiful blooms or nothing but green stuff later this year.
If nothing else, as nature takes its course in the coming months, I suppose I can look back and find in my collection of flora something of a Lenten lesson about sinfulness. To wit: It’s not only the things we do, but the things we fail to do that can diminish the amount of beauty and grace available to the world.
Whether through laziness, or disinterest, or self-centeredness, I have to admit I often find myself saying “no” or “no thanks” to God’s invitations. And further, I have to acknowledge that the world (or at least my little corner of it) winds up paying a price for the things I fail to do.
This is surely a great mystery, is it not? That God would rely – at least in some small way – on a broken sinful person such as myself to accomplish the work of the Kingdom? And yet, we see in this week’s “first gospel” a good example of this principle at work. Jesus sends two disciples to procure the colt upon which he’ll make his triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
“Untie it and bring it here,” [Jesus says.] “And if anyone should ask you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you will answer, ‘The Master has need of it.’”
The owner of the colt undoubtedly would have been within his rights to refuse the request – just as I am free to sniff that I don’t have the time, or the energy, or the inclination to show a little mercy in a thousand different ways during the upcoming week.
Yes, I have that freedom – to nip any of those situations in the bud. But in what I fail to do, I also have to recognize that my choices will inevitably make Holy Week a little less holy for those I encounter along the Way.
And now, for a brief commercial message…After a long pause due to COVID-19, it looks like we’ll be able to resume our Kairos Weekends at Menard Correctional Center this spring. You can join our team in helping to bring the light of Christ into the prison, by making a tax-deductible “green agape” donation to help defray the cost of the retreat. Click here to contribute: https://bit.ly/3JIZNf7 (Designate “Menard State Prison”)
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.