Today’s first reading and the gospel seem to have one thing in common: both the people of Israel to whom the message of Isaiah is addressed and John the Baptist are in a very uncomfortable situation. Israel is in exile and John is in prison.
These two situations can nurture a feeling or attitude of despair and hopelessness. From these readings one could say that like Israel who was tempted to give up amidst the suffering inflicted to them in Babylon, John’ s message to Jesus through his disciples seems to express in the human eyes a loss of hope.
However, while these lines of thoughts could be embraced to some extent, today’s readings are still leading us on the path of hope. Last week we reflected on the relationship between hope and repentance. This week we are given the opportunity to meditation on the relationship between hope and patience. Both Israel and John the Baptist are in dire situations. Imagine when you get hungry and you place order to a pizza delivery company. How often do you check your watch to see where the car delivery is? The longer it takes the more anxious and impatient we get. When we want something, we want it now. When we look around us, it seems like somehow the more things we have and the more conveniences we have, the more impatient we become when we have to wait for anything. But God who owns everything is Patient; he always gives us a second chance because as scriptures say, he does not take pleasure at the death of sinners but he wants all to come to repentance and to live. Can you imagine the length of time it takes for you and me to repent? God never loses hope in and for our return.
The relationship between hope and patience is made clear in today’s second reading. Hope strengthens the farmer’s patience. Time and again, Jesus teaches us about the connection between hope and patience in the gospels. The different parables of the kingdom compared to the mustard seed, a grain of wheat…, and so forth are ways Jesus highlights the relationship between hope and patience.
Today we are invited to look around and within ourselves and ask: what makes me so hopeless as to become impatient and to want God to be in my plan rather than myself immersing in God’s plan for me? What makes me so hopeless to lead to imagine that God does not pay heed to my prayers? As we wait and prepare for the coming of the Son of God, let us pray to God to nurture our hope through and by the virtue of patience. For these lead us to the joy of the coming of the Son of God we celebrate on this Sunday traditionally called “Gaudete” Sunday.
And let us continue to pray for one another and for our parish family.