Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thursday in the 1st Week of Advent
Memorial of St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Fruitful Waiting

Readings: Isaiah 26:1-6; Psalm 118:1 and 8-9, 19-21, 25-27a; Matthew 7:21, 24-27

We know that Advent is a time of longing and of waiting. But how does one wait? Is there a more and a less fruitful way? It would seem so, if our readings are anything to go by.

In a time of exile, the first reading expresses the people’s longing as they look toward a time of restoration. Yet not all will find their hopes fulfilled. Not all will find that for which they wait. Only a select number will be able to welcome the Lord, to bless his name, when he comes. For the gates of God’s visitation will open only for those who remain true to their identity as God’s people, only for the upright nation… the faithful one whose mind is steadfast, who keeps the peace…

And isn’t Jesus saying something similar in the gospel? Who will enter the kingdom of heaven? Not those who merely mouth the words, Lord, Lord, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven.

What does fruitful waiting look like then? It is neither passive, nor mere lip-service. Rather does it imply acting and living as if the One for whom we long, the Lord of justice and of peace, were already here in our midst.

To do this we require a very precious grace. Something for which we might beg God today and everyday: that we might trust in the Lord for ever, for the Lord is the everlasting Rock…

Today, how do we wait?

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