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Meditation: Snow in Jerusalem

It snows in Jerusalem.

Somebody told me that, so I looked it up. In 1950, there were storms that dumped a couple feet of snow on the city and even more elsewhere in Israel.

So Jesus wasn’t unfamiliar with snow.

As a boy, maybe he had to shovel it. Or maybe his parents told him just to wait for it to melt. It’s warmer in Nazareth than here in Chicago.

Maybe, as a boy, Jesus was like my son David who, on more than a few winter mornings, awoke, looked out the window and ran through the house, shouting, “Hooray! It snowed!”

I’ve always found it fascinating to see how completely the world is changed by an overnight snowfall. You wake up, and all of the dead leaves and trash along the curb and mud and yellow grass, all of the streets and alleys, all of the cars and houses and garages are covered in beauty.

I think Jesus was alive to beauty.

He was alive to life in such a vivid way. He looked at life with open eyes and saw — really saw — the world, especially the people in the world.

The woman who washed his feet with her tears and her hair — others dismissed her as a sinner. Jesus saw her faith and repentance.

When he told the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector, he was telling a story about seeing what’s real. The complacent Pharisee is so puffed up with his own vanity that he thinks he’s perfect. He’s wrong. The tax collector bows in sorrow and acknowledges his sinfulness.

We are all sinners, as Pope Francis frequently reminds us — and himself. We all come to God our Parent and are embraced with love despite our failings.

Our lives are beautiful in that hug.

Patrick T. Reardon


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