Reflection on 19th Sunday: 11th August 2019

Waiting

“In many ways, waiting is the missing link in the transformation process.
I’m not referring to waiting as we’re accustomed to it, but waiting as the passionate and contemplative crucible in which new life and spiritual wholeness can be birthed.”

Sue Monk Kidd: When the Heart Waits

One reality of life is waiting; waiting for someone to show up, for something to happen, for things to change. Another reality of life is that most of us do not like waiting. We look for the shortest line at the supermarket or we become impatient, even angry, waiting for someone who is slow or inattentive. At some level waiting takes place every day. Each of us could name the things or people for which we wait. Sometimes we live with the overwhelming feeling of waiting but with no clear idea of what we are waiting for. In our waiting, we generally don’t wait in the present. We either move into the past or into the future. The great tragedy is that in doing so we lose the present moment. That’s part of what makes waiting so painful and difficult. Waiting in the past brings sadness, anger, or guilt about things that have happened, or the things done and left undone. Waiting in the future most often brings fear and anxiety about what will happen. We are haunted by the unknown and lack of control.

In today’s gospel Jesus is teaching us how to wait. He’s inviting us to be present to the One who is always already present: “Do not be afraid. It has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.” The ‘kingdom’ is God’s life within us. (cf Luke 17:21) We are not waiting until we die to enter the kingdom. We don’t die into it. We awaken into it. (Cynthia Bourgeault) If we allow our waiting to be a time of growing awareness of the reality of God within us, within each other, within creation and within the circumstances of our lives, then it will be a time of transformation, a time when we discover the inexhaustible treasure within us, a treasure which no ‘thief’ can take from us.

We might be tempted to ask, “Where is God in all our waiting?” But maybe the better question is “Where are we?”

Adapted: M.Marsh. R.Rohr