BY BRO MARIANO DI VITO, OFM CAP.
During this time of year the bare, rocky hills of the Gargano promontory seem almost less austere with the gentle, bright blossoms of the almond trees. The small white and pink blossoms of this tree are the first encouraging signs of the return of spring: of Beauty!
In Sacred Scripture that mirrors humanity and intricately bound to the language of symbols, we find different references to the gnarled and gentle almond tree.
It is referred to in an early prophecy of Jeremiah. “Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Jeremiah, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘I see a branch of an almond tree.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am watching to perform My word’” (Jer 1, 10-12).
The Hebrew word for almond, shaked, is also translated “to watch,” and the text here plays on this double sense. The almond, the first tree to bloom, is like a sentinel who sees before others, watches over the safety of the city, and warns when something new and unexpected is to happen....