Third Sunday of Advent
“Hang in there, Baby!” That was the message printed under a picture of a cat on a poster that once decorated my room. The poor animal, grasping onto a fragile branch hanging over a seeming endless abyss, had a terrified look on its features. That’s the message I get out of these Sunday’s readings too. Hang in there! Have patience and remember ‘patience’ comes from the Latin word meaning ‘to suffer’.
In the first reading we are invited to contemplate the desert God has not yet visited. Man there is blind, deaf, crippled and wounded, but Jesus tells John in the Gospel that He has come with vindication, liberation. But wait, it is a message that should be blended with what James says in the 2nd reading.
The farmer does not make rain come by doing a rain dance. Rather he “waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and late rains,” or as we read in Mark (4:27): “A man scatters seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how he does not know.” Patience means waiting for God to come to us. Mary is our model here. A pregnant woman does not force the birth of her child. She waits. The Church is also pregnant. When and where she gives birth is in God’s hands. Wait. Hang in there!