This is a picture of a broom tree.
This Sunday's first reading from 1 Kings 19:4-8 is always a favorite of mine. We see Elijah weary after a day's journey into the desert; he is sitting beneath a broom tree and praying to die. "This is enough, O Lord! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers." How often do I want to cry out to the Lord that "this is enough!" and then, like Elijah, I just go to sleep.
An angel comes to Elijah and wakes him ordering him to get up and eat. And there was a hearth cake and a jug of water next to him. He ate and drank, but then lay down again. However, the angel of the Lord came back and tole him again to "Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!" So he did and had the strength to then walk forty days and nights to the mountain of God.
There is a great deal to reflect on in this passage. Elijah wants to give up, but the Lord sends him help and the command to get up, eat, and begin his journey again. He is going to meet God, but it is not easy. God has strengthened him as he still does each of us, if we allow ourselves to be touched by an angel and obey the command to get up and then set out.
When taken with the Gospel for this Sunday, we see that the Eucharist is the source of life and strength and is given us for our journey. Jesus tells us that "whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."