Monday, January 4, 2016


Judean Desert Hills, Qumran, Israel
Blooming Desert, Jordan River Valley, Israel

Transforming the desert places

I recently finished a book on the wisdom of Pope Francis where he asks the very basic question, “Why the Cross?” And he answers that “Jesus on the cross feels the whole weight of evil and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection.” It was God’s unconditional love for us that prompted him to wrap himself in human flesh and “present” himself on that first Christmas day. We have to look no further than the cross to understand that love for his creation

Pope Francis also observes, “Let us remember this: God judges us by loving us. If I embrace his love, then I am saved; if I refuse it, then I am condemned, not by him, but my own self, because God never condemns; he only loves and saves.” That love for his creation also prompted the gift of free will to all humanity. People are not condemned to eternal darkness, rather they volunteer. He didn’t come down at Christmastime to save us from our enemies, but rather ourselves.

The Easter message Pope Francis delivered in 2013 asked “What does it mean that Jesus is risen? It means that the love of God is stronger than evil and death itself; it means that the love of God can transform our lives and let those desert places in our hearts bloom.” He went on to say later that year that “A revolution, in order to transform history, must profoundly change human hearts. Revolutions that have taken place throughout the centuries have changed political and economic systems, but none accomplished the true revolution, the one that radically transforms life, with his Resurrection that gave birth to a new world.”

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