Homily for December 2018 Holy Hour
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
It is almost Christmas but not yet. The stores started anticipating Christmas with their displays right after Halloween. This doesn’t make Christmas come any sooner. We still have to wait. We began seeing Christmas decorations at Thanksgiving time but this too doesn’t make Christmas come any sooner.
So,we wait. Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit at work in us. Waiting isn’t always easy. Christmas is one example of this. We know Christmas will not begin until December 25th (not that some won’t open their presents sooner,some for lack of patience, others for timing of get-togethers). So, we ask the Lord to grant us the patience to wait.
Today people demand instant results. One hundred years ago, one might have waited weeks for a letter to go across the world. Now, emails and text messages can communicate that same message in seconds.
We have to wait for Christmas to come in the same way the farmers have to wait for the crop to grow. The farmer first plows. Then, the seed is scattered. The fields may need to be watered and fertilized (and perhaps some trimming on fruit trees, etc.) but it is largely a matter of waiting until harvest time once the seed is planted. Nowadays science offers some explanation for how the seed is turned into a plant and bears a crop. Yet, while the science explains what is happening, it doesn’t change the waiting.
Creation remains a work in progress. We are a work in progress. While we might desire to avoid suffering, our faith tells us suffering can be part of what leads us to God. Some people are not even patient in waiting to die. They want to hasten death with assisted suicide.
In faith, we seek to hand it over to God to lead us on our way as we “wait with endurance.” All that is good will happen at the time appointed by God.
Now,I want to turn to the story of Noah. Imagine yourself in Noah’s place. God comes to you and tells you to build an ark because he is going to cleanse the world through a great flood.
Noah takes God’s word at face value and trusts in God to provide. Would you accept God’s direction to build an ark? Would you trust God to take care of you during the flood?
It would have taken Noah some time to build the ark. It needed to be a good ark, no leaks! Noah had to be patient to make sure it was done right or it would sink!
Up to this point, the waiting may not have been too bad. Then, when God tells them it is time, Noah’s family boards the ark, bringing animals in accord with God’s direction.
Then, the rain begins.
There was still waiting. God did not flood the world in an instant. It rained for forty days and forty nights. The water rose over time. First, it rose enough to lift the ark from the land upon which it had been built. It began to cover the mountains. It came to cover the tree tops. The water came to cover everything. All that Noah could see was water.
So, he waited.
He waited in the ark with his family. The ark was full of animals. I can’t imagine spending a few days at sea cooped up on a boat on a cruise. How do you bear it for forty days and forty nights?
Actually, it was a lot more than forty days and forty nights. Even after the rain stopped, it took a longtime for the waters to diminish. In fact, it took 150 days for the water to recede enough for the ark to come to rest on land but it was still surrounded by water. It was another three months that the tops of trees became visible. And the waiting still wasn’t over!
Of course, eventually the waters fully receded. By my counting of the time, they were “stuck” on the ark for around a year. How would you have fared?
They made it because they had faith. Do you have enough faith to wait?
What are you waiting for? What have you given up on? Did you really give up or did you come to realize you really didn’t need it?
Do you trust God to make it happen at the proper time or do you demand it on your time?
You see waiting is really is a matter of trusting in God.