The Broom Tree

     Elijah was afraid and fled for his life, going to Beersheba of Judah.
He left his servant there and went a day’s journey into the desert, until
he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it.  He prayed for death:  “This is
enough, O Lord!  Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”  He lay
down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and
ordered him to get up and eat.  He looked and there at his head was a hearth cake
and a jug of water.  After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the 
Lord came back a second time, touched him, and ordered, “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”  He got up, ate and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and 
forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.  1 Kings 19,3-8


The above Bible passage is one of my favorites.  Some of you are probably thinking to yourselves that I am a Catholic and everyone knows they don’t read the Bible.  But you would be wrong.  True, we never memorized it, but the Bible is the word of God from which our religion flows.  Scripture is a very big part of our liturgy where both readings and the Gospel are taken from, verbatim.

I was living in the Pacific Northwest when this verse came to my attention.  It appealed to me because I was miserable living so very far away from my family.  I was lonely  and weary of the whole situation.  Little did I know how much the current situation would pale in comparison to what I would face in a few years.

Elijah begged the Lord to take his life because he was too tired and saw no way out of his troubles.  Instead of taking Elijah’s life, God  provided him with nourishment and rest so that he could continue on his journey, Much the same way the Lord invites us under the Broom Tree to provide us with nourishment, strength, rest and consolation thereby  giving us the strength to continue on our journey through life.

Not to be flip, (but you know I always am) it’s gonna  take a lot more than a hearth cake and jug of water to get me through this.  Symbolically, hearth cake and water represent the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ which will nourish my soul through all of this. My personal Broom Tree is actually a canopy of trees shading my deck overlooking Lake Allegan, anyplace quiet where we can listen for the voice of God will do.

When Elijah finally makes it to Horeb, he is told he will hear the voice of God.  At the entrance of a cave he hears God’s voice not in an earthquake, fire, or the violent wind, but in a soft whispering.  It is difficult to surrender all of our problems to the Lord, after all we humans tend to be control freaks.  When I offer up my heart ache to God – it is still there, but maybe he takes the portion that I cannot handle and I don’t realize it.

We must all be attentive and listen for the voice of the Lord, because until the End of Days, it won’t be real obvious.

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