11th April 2022
The almond tree – Prunus amygdalus – is native to the Levant. Its fruit (technically a drupe rather than a nut) is edible. It is said to have been one of the first fruit trees to be cultivated, possibly because it can be grown from seed – no skills in grafting are needed. The tree grows to a height of between 4 and 10m. Its is one of the first trees to produce blossom in the spring and is therefore also associated with new life.
In Hebrew the word for almond ‘shaqad’, also has the meaning of watchfulness. When Jeremiah sees the flowering almond, God says that it is a sign that God is watching, ready to fulfil his word. (Jeremiah 1:11-12)
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
In the Bible, the Lord says: I am like the flower of the almond. Why? Because that is the first flower to blossom in the spring. He is always the first! This is fundamental for us: God is always ahead of us! When we think about going far away, to an extreme outskirt, we may be a bit afraid, but in fact God is already there. Pope Francis, The Church of Mercy