The Time of Waiting
1st Sunday of Advent

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

Waiting is part of the human condition. The mother waits for her baby to be born. The farmer waits for the grain to ripen. Commuters wait for the bus to come. Patients wait in line at the doctor’s clinic, and so on. One can wait with patience and equanimity or one can wait with restlessness and anxiety.

Action starter: Wait and pray in hope.

People who find it difficult to wait may try to shorten the waiting time. That’s the reason why agriculturists have come up with faster-ripening varieties of grain and fruits. Some vendors hasten the ripening with the application of technology, however, we know that fruits that ripen in due time are more delicious in comparison with those that have been hastened artificially.

Due to the faster pace of human life, we have also come up with culture of “instants”. We cannot wait for coffee to brew, so we have instant coffee. We do not have time to cook, so we have instant noodles – just add hot water and you have a meal. We do not have time to talk, so we settle for instant text messages. That’s where the irony is – no time to talk but lots of time for the internet or the cellphone.

We are celebrating a time of waiting as we enter the season of advent. “Adventus” is the Latin word for “coming”. Advent is waiting for the Lord’s coming. The reading from the gospel as written by Luke speaks of the attitude of vigilance, “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap” (Luke 21:34). In comparison with the earliest gospel written by Mark where the coming of the Lord was seen as very soon, Luke who wrote later realized that the growing Christian community has to be encouraged in the practical consequences of living according to Jesus’s way -- while waiting for His return.

Paul was also confronted with the same situation and so he exhorted the community in Thessalonica, “Be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.Amen” (1 Thess. 3:3). Luke, Paul, and Jeremiah wrote to their communities to encourage them to wait patiently and hopefully. The day of judgment and vindication will come. As Jeremiah wrote to his people who were in exile in Babylon after the fall of Jerusalem, “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land” (Jer. 14-15).

As we enter the season of Advent we pray that indeed justice will reign in this land. We pray that a culture of violence and impunity will be replaced by a culture of peace. We pray that those who experience an environment of fear will, as Jeremiah pronounced, “experience salvation and will live in safety.”

Let us also be in solidarity with all people of good will in Mindanao, around the country and around the world as we pray and wait for a just and lasting response of all concerned agencies of government to what is now internationally-known as the “Maguindanao massacre”, where as of last count 57 people were killed in cold blood. This is a time of waiting. We wait for the Lord. We wait for the kingdom to come. We wait for justice in the land.