There are no upcoming events to display at this time.
Rooted in the Lord
In the year 1977, on the 13th November, a violent cyclone struck the East Coast of Bay of Bengal. The worst affected was the coastal and other areas of the district of Nagapattinam and the inland districts of Tamil Nadu. The roofs were blown off the houses, telephone and electricity wires were snapped. Trees were uprooted and overturned; many had fallen across the road blocking the traffic causing irreparable damages and bringing life to a standstill. The uprooted trees reminded us the image of a plant used in the Bible to signify God’s people.
It is prophet Hosea, who first used the imagery of plant to signify God’s people “I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon. Men will dwell again in his shade. He will flourish like the grain. He will blossom like a vine, and his fame will be like the wine from Lebanon” (Hos 14, 5-7). At a later period, prophet Jeremiah, the spiritual heir of Hosea developed further the same imagery of Israel as the tree. ” But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jer 17, 7-8).
We need to look at the purpose and function of the root system of a tree or a plant. First of all, the root guarantees the existence of the whole tree. Without roots tree cannot survive. The central portion of the roots called the tap root anchors the tree to the soil and gives stability to the entire structure of the tree viz the trunk, thebranches, the leaves and the fruits. Some of the trees have roots which reach as deep beneath the earth as the height of the tree. Secondly, the roots branch off into thousands of finer fibrous roots and root hairs which spread wide in search of moisture under the earth and absorb and send them through the trunk to branches and leaves. The roots hidden under the earth nourishes the tree which in turn gives forth flowers and fruits. Thirdly, the roots store food for later use for the existence and sustenance of the tree during the season of summer, when water available to the tree is scarce or nil. The analogy of Jeremiah makes us understand that “trust in the Lord” is being like a tree whose roots sustain it in adverse conditions. “He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jer 17, 8).
Prophet Isaiah uses another aspect of the same image with regard to the arrival of the Messiah from the decendance of Israel. He is like a new shoot from the tree whose trunk is cut, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit” (Is 11, 1). It is a message of hope to the people. As long as the stump has roots, though the branches are cut but still the tree can grow and give forth leaves and fruits. As long as we are rooted in Christ, whatever the calamities or adversities we may encounter still we can remain calm and peaceful; we can continue to do the good we do. Nothing can cripple our hope and courage. Again the author of the book of Job gives us a hope of new beginning in spite of our own repeated sins and our failures to live a holy life: “At least there is hope for a tree; if it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant” (Job 14, 7-9).
Jesus speaks about the roots in the parable of the sower. The roots are essential for a plant to grow taking the water and nutrients from the soil. “Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root” (Mk 4, 5-6). Further, while explaining the parable, Jesus spoke how it is important that we strike root deep in faith and sustain our fellowship with him. Those who did not sustain the relationship with him, he calls them “rootless ” and they are bound to wither away. “Some people are like seed along the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, satan comes and takes away the word that was sworn in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only for a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away” (Mk 4, 15-17).
St. Paul calls the Christians of Colossae “to be rooted” in the Lord. It is essential for a Christian to be continually rooted in the Lord so that he would be sustained by the Lord. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you are taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Col 2, 6-7).
In order to be rooted in Christ, first of all we have to be immersed in his life-giving word. Reading the Sacred Scriptures and meditating on it maintains our union with Jesus. We grow and mature in relationship with Jesus when we put into practice the word of God. The Psalmist speaks of such a man in the following words, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Ps 1, 1-3). How are we rooted in Christ?