The grasses are the dominant plants growing in many habitats and if only contiguous, these perennial species cover about 31% of the Earth’s land mass. It is one of the most widely distributed and abundant group of plants, and is found in almost every continent, absent only in Antarctica. Grasses include Poaceae or Gramineae, which also covers the cereal grasses, and bamboos. Their structures are unusual in that the meristem is located near the bottom of the plant; hence, they can quickly recover from cropping at the top. They just sprout endlessly, year in and year out in a seemingly unending cycle of cutting and growing back.
The book ‘The Gene’ written by S. Mukherjee is quite an interesting read. It tells about the history of genes and genetics from Charles Darwin’s time up to the present state of knowledge and science. What amazes me so much is that while scientific investigation has revealed interesting insights about how messages and codes are encrypted in the DNA through protein sequencing (rather than exact ‘messages’), the ultimate reason for its complexity and uniformity is obviously the flawless intelligence of the Almighty God. The patience by which scientists and researchers have done these studies is remarkable, having crossed many generations and boundaries in a time span of a century and a half. Needless to say, this tells how difficult and challenging it is to comprehend the human genome. Even with that, mankind has gone a long way since then. This journey has been both productive and messy. Productive, because Man has made significant progress in civilization and technology; and messy, because there are instances in history that Man was reckless and disobedient to the will and plan of God. Man hasn’t changed much on that respect, actually.
Despite this, God is patient. Very patient.
Throughout salvation history, we can see that God’s people have been cut down by forces of evil and destruction, though much of these are due to their own errors and doing. Even today, this is happening, as chaos and confusion brought about by years of indifference and hopelessness have affected the way people think about the world at large. This is partly due to failure of leaders in the past, who have abused and deprived them of their share of God’s wealth and blessings.
Yet through these years, God’s design has been there: worked, tested and validated to work in the present and in the future. In Jesus’ time, Israel has been cut down to a stump, looking hopeless, with no sight of unity forthcoming. They’ve been divided and it seems that there’s no chance this will be corrected. Especially that they were then under the Romans, without legitimate leaders as the Pharisees and Sadducees have abused and depressed them all the more. But they were a people hopeful that the Savior long foretold by prophets will finally come and liberate them from this situation of perplexity.
Thus, God showed that the stump of Jesse isn’t dead. As the Prophet Isaiah said,
‘On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.’ (Is. 11: 1)
This shoot would not only rejuvenate Israel, but also spread and rekindle the world as well. When Jesus came on that first Christmas night, salvation sprang into action. No matter the circumstances and hardships that cut us down to size, if we fix our eyes on Jesus, life can shoot from us too. The choice is ours to make.
Let a new life spring from our spirits this Advent Season, that in doing so we rekindle the dying embers of our relationship with Jesus. We need to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation to make this a reality. Before a grain of barley (an important grain in making beer) begins to germinate, there is a certain time that is awaited — called the dormancy period. It differs from variety to variety, and is affected by weather conditions. Just like the seeds that are germinated and grown in due season, we shouldn’t allow our own dormancy to make Jesus wait longer, or else Advent will be another lost opportunity to renew and revive our loving relationship with Him.
As St. John the Baptist prepared the way of the Lord, let us also prepare for His coming. Let us seek His forgiveness and listen to Him in prayer and reflection.
‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths: all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ (Lk. 3: 4, 6)