In this time of social media and instant gratification, patience is something that is truly lacking in our lives, our homes, our businesses and frankly, our world. I am just as guilty as the next person, which is why, after mass ended today, I asked my parish Deacon if I could use his homily as a blog post for Spirit of Discovery Park. As this calling to build an amusement park for those of ALL abilities continues into its 6th year, my impatience grows stronger with ever hurdle. And with that, I hope you understand why I felt the urge to share this message with you, not to preach, but to add comfort, reassurance, and possibly a new way of approaching what we yearn for, and it brings some peace.
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C – Deacon Matt Witte – Waiting vs. Active Waiting
The passage from the book of Wisdom features the Israelites beside the Red Sea.
· With the pharaoh's charioteers on the horizon, waiting confidently for the divine rescue to come.
In our 2nd reading, Paul reminds us of God’s promise to the faithful & waiting Abraham, that he would have: “Descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore.” Even our Gospel reading is about waiting.
The second parable underscores the importance of right behavior while we’re waiting.
The steward who is found waiting actively upon the master's return is rewarded.
The one who lazily abuses his authority by waiting passively is punished.
The world is filled with paintings and songs and poems and books and movies about waiting.
Most of us don’t like waiting. Waiting is annoying, frustrating and wasteful.
§ It’s no surprise that there are so many apps and services that promise to save us time:
To reduce our wait, to put services or goods in our hands as quickly as possible.
§ These things make us feel active and in charge of our time.
§ One of our nephews gives private tours at Disney World. He’s a bright, funny, charismatic guy. But,…
The main reason the Justin Timberlake’s of the world use him, is because…
§ They don’t want to wait in lines.
§ While we & our society try & make our lives easier and faster, God works on a very different timetable.
In his mind, nothing is wrong with waiting. In fact:
§ Waiting can actually be a positive good that he often uses to make us more like his Son.
In her novel The Underpainter, Jane Urquhard says there are two kinds of waiting:
· There’s the waiting that consumes our minds, and…
The waiting that happens just below the surface of our awareness.
§ We might not know it, she says, but in one way or another we’re always waiting.
· Our Gospel reading agrees that there are these two kinds of waiting.
Let’s call them passive waiting and active waiting.
· Our challenge is recognizing the fruitlessness of the former and the fruitfulness of the latter. For, example: A Buddhist monk once said that when we see a flower, and take the time to look deeply into it,
We’ll see not only its shape and color, but also the sunshine, the rain and the soil.
That are part of that flower and part of ourselves as well.
We can practice this deep reflection, whenever we find ourselves waiting.
Our breath, our heartbeat slows down, and the waiting becomes our friend.
Waiting, then, can be good for us. It gives us time to rest & reflect and serve & pray.
§ We are a people who have been promised inheritance and life.
We have, therefore, put our hope in God: “Our souls wait for the Lord.”
One other thing about waiting.
If we’re waiting, we could reflect on what we’re waiting for! What that is.. may be enlivening.
§ Viktor Frankl, in his account of what he learned about human nature in a Nazi concentration camp…
Notes that the people most likely to survive were those who had something to look forward to.
§ Like a loved one with whom they hoped one day to be reunited.
§ On the occasions when I visited my Grandma in what she called “The Old Folks Home”,
o She would always comment about waiting for God to call her home.
§ She would also wonder aloud why He hadn’t done it already.
· Just a little impatiently, she was looking forward to seeing what was next.
God Bless You.