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Your ‘Hope of Peace’

Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Genesis 8:6-13, 20-22

At the end of forty days Noah opened the hatch he had made in the ark,
and he sent out a raven,
to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
It flew back and forth until the waters dried off from the earth.
Then he sent out a dove,
to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
But the dove could find no place to alight and perch,
and it returned to him in the ark,
for there was water all over the earth.
Putting out his hand, he caught the dove
and drew it back to him inside the ark.
He waited seven days more and again sent the dove out from the ark.
In the evening the dove came back to him,
and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf!
So Noah knew that the waters had lessened on the earth.
He waited still another seven days
and then released the dove once more;
and this time it did not come back.

In the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life,
in the first month, on the first day of the month,
the water began to dry up on the earth.
Noah then removed the covering of the ark
and saw that the surface of the ground was drying up.

Noah built an altar to the LORD,
and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird,
he offered burnt offerings on the altar.
When the LORD smelled the sweet odor, he said to himself:
“Never again will I doom the earth because of man
since the desires of man’s heart are evil from the start;
nor will I ever again strike down all living beings, as I have done.
As long as the earth lasts,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
Summer and winter,
and day and night
shall not cease.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 116:12-13, 14-15, 18-19

R. (17a) To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.

Gospel: Mark 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida,
people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked,
“Do you see anything?”
Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”
Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly;
his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”

NAB

When I was in college, I used to run on a regular basis, probably 4-5 times a week. All that pounding on the pavement, week after week, with no cross training in between, did a real number on my iliotibial band. It not only ached when I ran, but was burning as I walked about during my daily routine. Chaos reined in my lower body and, mentally, I was having a tough time keeping up with it too.

I tried serious stretching. I tried lessening my mileage. I tried switching in other exercise. I began to lose hope that my injury would ever heal. My patience was running thin—the exercise gave me a way to relieve stress and keep anxiety at bay, and I didn’t want to give it up completely.

Like Noah in our reading today from Genesis, I was waiting for that “olive leaf” to restore peace once again. Patient and persistent, Noah sends out the dove with no relief for some time. But, then, his moment comes. The dove returns with an olive leaf revealing restoration, indicating God’s promise.

My “olive leaf” came in the way of a summer spent abroad in Paris. With little personal time due to a heavy schedule, I walked daily for our classes, in quite a bit of pain the first week or so, but little by little, the pain finally did recede. It was the perfect antidote for my injury.

I went for a little run towards the end of my stay around a park and found, much to my delight, that knee was no longer giving me so much trouble.

My olive leaf. The hope of peace restored in my body.

Sister, are you experiencing a period in your life where peace seems elusive? No matter how small, the Lord desires for you a restoration of peace. He wants to give you that olive leaf, that “hope of peace” as Saint Augustine called it. It may take continued patience and persistence, but it will come your way. (Perhaps, in a way completely unexpected!)

Don’t lose hope in His promise. It will arrive at the appointed time.

Persist in prayer. Continue in hope, sister. The Lord makes good on His promises.

Laurel Muff is a creator and appreciator of beautiful things. She resides with her husband and daughters in Northern California. You can find more about her here.

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