19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
We know and we don’t know. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that as servants we do not know when the Master will come–but we know that it will happen. The letter to the Hebrews talks about Abraham’s faith–he was called to leave his home, and “went out, not knowing where he was to go.” In the first reading, Wisdom reminds the Israelites awaiting vindication that their ancestors also waited for vindication on the night of Passover. We know what we have to wait for, but we don’t know when it will come.
The waiting is the hard part. Newman observed about enduring pain over time that “what makes the second pang grievous is that there has been a first.” So, too, with waiting. Each moment we wait for justice, we are aware of all the other moments that we have been waiting, and add one more to the tally. After long enough, we can forget that the waiting will end, and either give up altogether or take matters into our own hands.
But the readings do not just tell us that we have to keep waiting- they point the readers to the fruits of the waiting. Wisdom reminds us that the Passover happened, and the Israelites left Egypt. Hebrews reminds us that Abraham did receive descendents, and those descendents did receive land. As we keep waiting for justice, for vindication, for a homeland to call our own, we can think of the smaller waits that bore fruit–the small victories we have waited for and received with the help of God’s grace. Seeing how the small waits of our lives have borne fruit in faith, we can remember that the big wait for the Resurrection is not in vain.