Waiting is uncomfortable

Waiting is uncomfortable. It seems like forever. Will it ever end? When will it be over? You have just waited exactly 30 seconds for me to start my homily and reflections on today’s scripture readings.

Today I want to share with you the experience of waiting. All of us have waited for many different things in our life. For many young couples wanting to start their family, they have waited for the moment of conception and the positive tests that indeed the wife is pregnant. For those of us who shared in marriage later in life, the anticipation of being pregnant was all an integral part of our marriage. Jean has been pregnant 3 times. We have 2 living children. Jean’s first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. She is named Angelica. Getting pregnant the second time was more difficult. We waited---the tests were positive. We wait for the 9 months to be completed and the miracle of life which God has given us in the delivery of our new born child. I was fortunate to be with Jean when our 2 children were born. Seeing the beauty of new life was certainly worth the 9 month wait. You wait for your children to reach various milestones in their developing life: their first step, their first words, and their first day of school. You will always be a parent---there are always firsts for which you wait.

At every phase of our life we seem to wait. In our life together, we waited for the pathology reports from Jean’s cancer surgery to come back. We waited for the chemo and radiation to be over. We waited for her healing to be completed. We waited for a diagnosis of being “cancer free”.

For others however the wait has taken on a whole different meaning. They have waited patiently as their loved one begins the final process of as they say in the health care field---to actively die. Once all the medical treatment is completed and the realization that the next phase in life—eternal life has begun---one waits for the Lord to call their loved one home. You wait for the wake and funeral to be over. You wait for everyone to go home and you now begin your life; waiting once again---for exactly what you are waiting is not clear; but you wait none the less.

Each one of us can complete this process and fill in the blanks on your own “list of things for which you wait”. Some would have on their list the time when the Vatican will officially accept married priests, and women priests, people with a different sexual orientation, the fact that the Holy Spirit is in all people.

The Prophet Jeremiah speaks of the days that will come. The Jewish people are waiting. Jeremiah puts these words on the lips of the Lord, “I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land. In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure.” Many are still waiting for the “just shoot” to be raised up where justice for all shall reign in the world. In the meantime, war, poverty, nations being annilalated, whole communities being destroyed, seems to be on the news around the earth. Some in the Jewish Community continue to wait for the Messiah---a just shoot from the house of David.

So what is one to do during this time of waiting? Usually during Advent we hear the passage from John the Baptist to “prepare the way of the Lord”—“valleys to be filled in and the mountains made low” We were urged to look to our life and see what were the valleys that that needed to be filled in and how does one fill in what is missing in our life?

The Gospel of Luke reminds us to be sure the anxieties of every day life do not wear us down; be aware of the aspects of life which can easily get in the way of our preparation---get in the way of our waiting. This Gospel warns of carousing and drunkenness. I am sure this may be an issue for some but not most. Perhaps worrying about your 401k, the cost of a new home, the cost of health care and education for your children, the amount of your retirement package and many other issues may get in the way of your waiting.

We are urged to be vigilant at all times! For over 2,000 years many have been waiting. My experience has shown me that it is only in prayer; opening my heart to the constant presence of God within that I am able to put in check my worrying about the many things in life which may distract me from the presence of God in my life.

How do you spend your time waiting? Many things for which we wait have a very short shelf life and are gone in a fleeting moment---with no perceptible value at all.

All of us are waiting. Will what you are waiting for bring you to a better understanding of how Jesus is present in your life? Will what you are waiting for bring you to a better understanding that we are all one in the same family of God? During this Advent we await the birth of Jesus.


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