BLEVINS: The Waiting Game

November 24, 2020

How many times do we remember being told when we were growing up, “wait till you’re older, wait until you’re 16 for your driver’s license, wait to get married, wait to have children, wait, wait, wait…”

It seems today we are all waiting for something — a vaccine for COVID-19, a return to “normal,” reuniting with our grandchildren in person, a job if we are unemployed, returning with the full community of our parish for Mass. The list goes on and on.

It’s a waiting game. We muddle through the best we can, sometimes discovering new ways of connecting through technology. But we can all agree it’s not the same.

We cry out, like David:

How long, LORD? Will you utterly forget me?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I carry sorrow in my soul,
grief in my heart day after day?
How long will my enemy triumph over me? (Psalm 13)

The Jewish community, after Jesus rose from the dead, asked the same thing. They were waiting for an imminent return of the Messiah to rescue them. They did not understand that the Second Coming would be delayed for so long. In the Mass readings in these last months, Jesus, through parables, was trying to tell His followers what to do as they waited — follow the laws given and the Gospel message to love God and their neighbor.

Do good deeds for which you will be rewarded when you find yourself face to face with God at judgment. The Scriptures read on Nov. 22, the Feast of Christ the King, point to a different kind of king — a servant King who gives His life for us all.

“Jesus is the center of creation; and so the attitude demanded of us as true believers is that of recognizing and accepting in our lives the centrality of Jesus Christ, in our thoughts, in our words and in our works.” (Homily of Pope Francis, Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov. 24, 2013)

To acknowledge the kingship of Christ means that we should dedicate ourselves to prayer, building up our families and our parish communities, and bringing healing to a broken world. We need not just to wait, but to take action as we are able.

Jesus Christ is the center and the point from which all of our prayers and deeds find their source.

Let’s take a closer look at the word WAIT.

W - stands for wisdom. Wisdom is not the same thing as knowledge. As a matter of fact, you can very easily be acquainted with facts, truths or principles. But, if you don’t apply this information to your life, you are actually the opposite of wise. Wisdom, especially spiritual wisdom, is not just about knowing what’s good for you but applying that knowledge into your everyday life. When you do that, this is when you know that you are truly wise.

A - stands for action. “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?” (Acts 1-11) The voice heard after Jesus ascended into heaven was a wake-up call for the Apostles to GET BUSY!!! Jesus’s followers did not know what they were supposed to do. Later, enlightened by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they realized they were supposed to be about preaching and doing the Gospel message. They were to take care of each other, heal the sick, pray with each other, and do good works in the name of Jesus Christ. The same is true for us. Even in these unprecedented times in which we live, there are so many ways we can be the hands and feet of Christ. We just need some creativity.

I - stands for investigate. Find out more about this Jesus, whom you follow. Read the Scriptures, seek out adult formation opportunities at your parish, or join a Bible study. Many parishes are providing online studies. If you want to be a missionary disciple, you must get to know He whom you follow.

T - stands for thanksgiving. Psalm 13, which we reflected on at the beginning of this article when we wondered “How long, O Lord?” concludes with:

But I trust in your mercy.
Grant my heart joy in your salvation,
I will sing to the LORD,
for He has dealt bountifully with me!

This is a stanza of praise that David sings because he realizes that his waiting for deliverance from his miseries has reaped bounties beyond comprehension. He has been rewarded for his faithfulness and trust in God. We also will be rewarded if we have faith in Jesus Christ and patiently await.

We are now entering into the season of Advent that is all about waiting. Mary is the perfect example as she awaits the birth of her Son, the fulfillment of the prophecies and seeks to understand her role in salvation history.

Let us remember to invoke her in our prayers as we await with Wisdom, Action, Investigation and Thanksgiving. May this Advent season be a time for you to rediscover and spread the Kerygma, the initial Proclamation of the Gospel: “Jesus Christ loves you; He gave His life to save you; and now He is living every day at your side to enlighten, strengthen and free you.” (Evangelii Gaudium #58) 

Julie Blevins, director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.