Waiting is an everyday part of life in Ecuador: for busses, banks, stores, markets, almost anything and always, one waits. Slowly, it became clear to me that efficiency and availability of resources in any form are luxuries and not the experience of the poor. The poor wait. Actually, this truth is captured in the common use of the phrase and concept of mañana, usually meaning whatever one is looking or waiting for will not be available today, but maybe tomorrow. Wait.
I am not a patient man – I hate to wait for anything. Usually, I am impatient
with myself and with anyone else and so, for me, waiting requires a change of attitude and all the rest. I have to step back and take the long view. I need to see the moment in the context of the big picture and, although I don’t easily choose that, I confess that to wait can be a good thing. I mean to say the waiting invites me inside myself and helps me slow down and reflect, often finding the cause of my impatience groundless – in the big picture.
Advent 2020 is unlike any other we have known. We are all anxiously waiting to get to the other side of the pandemic. Yet Advent waiting is not meant to be a time of emptiness or frustration. The Church urges us to use these weeks to grow in patience and to reflect on the big picture, something beneficial for all of us. These weeks and the rich liturgies of these Advent days, speak of the hope of the ages: that One is coming to bring relief and freedom.
Advent is a beautiful time to even refresh one’s dreams for oneself, for one’s
family and friends, and yes, even our world. What might they be? What stands in the way of these dreams becoming real? How can one overcome these obstacles? Maybe these waiting days can help one see with greater clarity what matters most in one’s life and choose to move away from the less important.
Waiting in the Advent time can be like going to the gym to exercise; li’le by
li’le one grows in strength and stamina. Yet this kind of waiting is best when
complimented by prayer and acts of kindness. The prayer can be simple, a daily time of quiet and maybe reading a passage from Sacred Scripture or a devotional book.
Many in these days seek to connect with everything from Harvest on Vine to Globe Santa to Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities. These and any opportunity to express charity and solidarity with the poor and suffering can transform waiting to a time of Grace.
Among the poor where waiting is a way of life, one rarely waits alone. People stand together, people reach out to others and many share something of their stories – amazing than that the waiting often brings with it the gift of solidarity with others. Think about it: have you noticed how an unexpected delay while going somewhere finds one suddenly speaking to another such that frequently friendship and stories are shared? Often enough, the wait becomes something much less burdensome and the moment is transformed.
Advent is a time to wait… ah, not just an ordinary inconvenience, but rather a special time that contains immeasurable Grace for those who would choose to wait with some quiet, prayer and reflection on the big picture. This waiting can help us grow in greater solidarity with one another, anticipating the immeasurable gift from Bethlehem.
Second Sunday of Advent
Weekend of December 5/6, 2020
Today’s second reading is about Christ’s coming again, “The day of the Lord,” Peter calls it, but that day isn’t December 25th. It’s that other day, that second-coming day about which Peter is concerned. He waits with great hope and anticipation for God to remake the earth into a place of perfect justice and peace. And he sets some demanding goals for the Christian community as it awaits that final day of accounting and reconciliation: strive to be at peace, without spot or blemish.
Christian stewards work for peace.
As we await the coming of Christmas, what can we do to promote peace in our homes, workplaces, community and world?