04 July 2006

As we wait in joyful hope

As I wait for the birth of my nephew - now three days past due - I am struck by the growing excitement and anticipation that I feel welling up within me. With each passing day the joy grows greater as I continue to wait by the phone - not anxiously or with worry, but with peace and great expectation.

After having sat with these feelings it occurs to me that this is really how we should be living each and every day of our life, not waiting for the coming an infant, but waiting "in joyful hope for the coming our Savior Jesus Christ," as the priest prays at every Mass.

I have a number of sayings that I toss around from time to time and one them - perhaps my favorite - is, "Bring on the eschaton. Let's get this over with. It's been two thousand years; some of us are tired of waiting." While I often say this in jest, I also mean what I say.

My heart yearns for the coming of the Lord. I want, with all my being, to dwell in his presence for "better one day in [his] courts than a thousand elsewhere" (Psalm 84:11). And yet, I am not sure that I have felt the same excitement about the Second Coming of the Lord as I have felt about the birth of my nephew.

I cannot give any real reason as to why the intensisty of anticipation has not been the same for I do not know why, although I do know that I do indeed want the anticipation to be the same.

I often ask the Lord Jesus why he still has not yet returned and he answers me with the words of St. Peter: "The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard 'delay,' but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9).

Sometimes I wonder if the Lord is not too patient with his people, but then I hear the words he spoke through his prophet Isaiah: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8).

Still, I wish he would hurry up! Come quickly, Lord, do not delay! But then the Apostle James says to me:

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not complain, brothers, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates. Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of the perseverence of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, because "the Lord is compassionate and full of mercy" (James 5:7-11).
We hear the promise of the Lord to "sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD" (Zechariah 2:14). He says to us, "I am coming quickly. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may take your crown" (Revelation 3:11). And yet, the more we look for his coming the more insistently we are told that "the day of the Lord will come come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be disolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out" (II Peter 3:10). And here we sit nearly two thousand years later watching and waiting.

So then we ask if we should be looking for his coming at all and the Lord himself says to us,

Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So, too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come (Matthew 24:42-44).
As we wait in joyful hope, let us heed the warning of the prophet Zechariah: "Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD! for he stirs forth from his holy dwelling" (Zechariah 2:17).

May the Lord increase within me - and you - the desire for his return in glory. Me he increase my - and your - expectation and longing for his return. May he make it as instense as my yearning for the birth of my nephew.

May the Lord come quickly and send his herald to proclaim to us: Annuncio vobis gaudium mangum! "Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!" (Matthew 25:6).

I want to "look on him whom they have pierced" and so I will go and adore our Eucharisitc Lord (Zechariah 12:10).

May the Lord bring to fulfillment the vision of Saint John:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will be with them [as their God]. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away." The one who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new" (Revelation 21:1-5).

Come and dwell with us, Lord!

No comments:

Post a Comment