29th Week OT (Tues): Readings
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Convento SS. Domenico e Sisto, Roma
If you have ever waited in a queue at the post office, or sat waiting on a doctor or dentist, or waited for a care package from home, you know too well the impatience that arises when what you need is within reach but still somehow not yet yours. More than just the aggravation and frustration of a not yet fulfilled desire, this sort of impatience is fed by the very real possibility of failure. The post office may close before your turn. The doctor may go home before seeing you. That care package from home might end up in customs, lost forever in a warehouse. Hoping for your turn, hoping to see the goodies from home is a game of chance, a small investment of patience on the chance for a little joy. That's why we wait. It's why we wait on the postal clerk, the dentist, the package. But when we are waiting on the mechanisms of the world to click around in our favor just one more time, our hope is a gamble, a leap in the dark with nothing but the dim light of the occasional happy experience at our backs. Vigilance can pay off. Hope with a 30% chance of light failure. However, when we wait on the Lord, when we are vigilant for his return, our waiting is a never gamble, never a game of chance. Waiting itself is an act of faith and a testament to the strength he has instilled in us. So, we wait in hope because it is our hope in him that saves us.
In his 2007 encyclical, Spe salvi, Pope Benedict XVI, writes, “Faith is not merely a personal reaching out towards things to come that are still totally absent: [faith] gives us something. It gives us even now something of the reality we are waiting for [. . .]”(7). To believe, to hope, to trust, to wait on the Lord's return is to serve him as if he reclines at table with us. He says to his disciples, “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.” These faithful, hopeful servants are blessed even as they wait, and more so when he arrives among them. Their preparation to be of service is not a gamble but an act of worship. Their vigilance is made perfect in his presence.
Waking this morning to another chance to serve the Lord, waking and getting out of bed, getting up and going out, coming here to do what you have vowed to do as a servant of the Lord—all of these, together in one act of obedience to his call—shout out the refrain of the psalmist: “Here I am, Lord! I have come to do your will!” Stand in line, sit in class, attend a meeting, dig a ditch, diaper a baby, “gird your loins and light your lamps,” do whatever it is you will do today, but do it with the vigilance of one who hopes, one who trusts that waiting in service to the Lord is what brings the blessings of peace and the fulfillment of all your desires.