All this week, it’s provided a spectacular greeting…and pretty much, just for me.
Our azalea bush, that is.
In the 20+ years it’s been growing just outside our front door, I don’t ever remember it flowering quite so vigorously. Truth be told, the bush has always been a bit of a disappointment: scrawny, stubby, and generally dwarfed by the plants that surround it in the landscaping bed.
But this year, for some reason, its blooms have been positively delightful…even intriguing…as they catch the light and offer endless variations on the theme of ‘red’ from moment to moment.
I realize, too, that it’s a prodigal beauty. The shrub is small enough that it can’t really be seen from the street. And since I’m the only one who uses the front door with any regularity (to pick up the morning paper, and later in the day, to retrieve the mail), the abundant blooms seem almost like they’re meant for my eyes only. Much more beauty than I deserve…and certainly not the result of any horticultural effort I’ve invested over the years.
And yet, I am blessed by the blooms. Bountifully so.
It is the Easter season, after all…a time of year drenched in grace and immersed in the eternal promise of the Risen One.
We are reminded of that promise in Sunday’s second reading, from the book of Revelation.
Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.
He will dwell with them and they will be his people
and God himself will always be with them as their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain,
for the old order has passed away.”
And this year, astonishingly, even my scrawny stubby little azalea seems to have gotten the message.
The One who sat on the throne said,
“Behold, I make all things new.”
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.