Advent 2 Sun Yr B (2017)
Ss. Peter & Paul - Danville
I’m tired of all this construction! I wish we could just be finished already, don’t you? I’m tired of waiting! It seems every two steps forward lead to a step back. There was the rotting pane around that beautiful stained glass window that had to be fixed. The blue we originally picked for the ceiling looked like a child’s playroom and had to be adjusted to remind us of the heavens that gaze down on our worship. We found two rotten floor joists in the original Church floor that had to be repaired. After months of tearing everything down on Sunday just to put it back together on Friday and do it over and over and over again I’m sick and tired of all this construction – I’ve lost all my patience!
Advent…Advent is a bad time to lose one’s patience. It’s a bad time to lose our patience with anything…because…well, because truth be told, most of us are losing patience with ourselves. We’re trying to get ready because Jesus is coming. But…what if we miss the boat? The highways of our lives aren’t all straightened out yet – there are patterns of sin – things we consistently do or consistently fail to do – that haven’t been straightened out yet. There are valleys of our lives that haven’t been filled with God’s grace yet – shame and regret and feelings of inadequacy, worry that we’re not good enough, strong enough, courageous enough – that we’re not enough – places in our hearts where God’s grace hasn’t yet been able to fill our valleys.
And mountains – there are mountains in our lives that have not yet been leveled – things and ways of being that block us from God’s love and His saving grace. Pride and faulty priorities that keep us from the Sacrament of Reconciliation. (Friends – why are we still pretending that we don’t need to go to Confession? Why? We must overcome this sinful misunderstanding and come running to God’s love and mercy in the confessional!) Pride and faulty priorities that keep us from loving God as we should and loving our neighbors as we should – a self-centered narcissism that prizes my way, my preference, my sense of right and wrong over hearing and heeding God’s way, God’s plan, God’s law designed to set us free and give us life most abundantly now and in the world to come.
Advent is a horrible time to lose our patience…because when we get frustrated with the tree, or the lights, or the wrapping paper – when we lose our patience with our spouse or our children or our pastor – when we lose our patience in Advent on some level we realize we’re losing our patience with ourselves…and we wonder and worry whether God is losing His patience with us. We’re trying to pay attention, trying not to miss the boat – we’re trying to get ready because Jesus is coming. We hear the voice crying out in the wilderness Prepare the Way of the Lord! and we wonder somewhere deep inside if we’ll ever straighten out the highways of our lives, if we’ll ever get the valleys of our insufficiency filled in, if the mountains of our pride and faulty priorities will ever be lowered to welcome God …we lose our patience and sometimes we become afraid that we’ll never be ready – afraid that God will lose his patience with us.
But…God is patient.
God is faithful and patient – He preserves and strengthens us for His coming! Say it with me: God is faithful and patient – He preserves and strengthens us for His coming.
What a guy! What a God! How amazing and loving and generous! God doesn’t simply sit on high with some sort of heavenly stopwatch waiting for time to run out like some sort of video game eager to catch us short of the finish line and flash “GAME OVER” on our lives. No…our God is a God of love and tenderness and compassion! And He is a God of patience. Where we are frustrated, God is patient. When we are fickle, God is faithful, and when we are frustrated God is patient. God is faithful and patient – He preserves and strengthens us for His coming.
Imagine if we hadn’t been patient with our construction. We’d have a toybox ceiling, a stained glass window about to fall down on top of us and a floor about to cave in on us at Mass. Doesn’t patience always guide us closer to perfection? If we rush to help someone trying to figure something out – supplying the answer, doing the task for them – doesn’t it deprive them of important learning and skill development? How many times have we given up on an exercise routine because it didn’t produce results fast enough? Except when you think about it, patience with ourselves, patience and faithfulness are themselves the key ingredients to getting healthier…and in the spiritual life, too.
When we are fickle, God is faithful – and when we grow frustrated, God is patient. God is patient… He doesn’t delaying His coming – He doesn’t delay pouring out His saving grace on us, He isn’t “late” in helping us grow in holiness. No…God is patient. Jesus is patient with us, not wanting to lose any of us. If we can be faithful to His faithfulness – if we’re trying, if we just keep swimming, God is patient…waiting for us, that we might be saved at His coming.
Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years…[He] does not delay His promise…but He is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Friends – we have to be about the business of getting ready – but we can be patient with ourselves when we falter, because God is patient with us. He is faithful and patient, because He loves us, He wants us to be ready. His patience isn’t an excuse to be lazy…He’s patient with our effort not with our apathy. If we reject His faithfulness and His patience by being lazy or apathetic, His coming will catch us off guard, like a thief breaking through with a mighty roar; we’ll be consumed by holy fire and cast aside. Apathy and indifference to His love and mercy will earn us damnation – we’ll miss the boat and be swallowed in the flood of eternal exile from the warmth of His love and mercy. God has no time for our apathy and indifference in ignoring the Confessional, hoarding our time and talent to serve ourselves and our families while others go without, living our faith at the margins of our life – He has no time for apathy or indifference, but with our effort God is patient. He is patient – so that we can move closer to perfection and grow ready to greet Him when He comes.
God is faithful and patient – He preserves and strengthens us for His coming. What will you do with His faithfulness and patience? He’s there – every step of the way He’s there – He’s here with us – faithfully and patiently with us. And He’s coming…