I remember as a child, I would struggle to sleep the night before Christmas. I knew that when I woke up, there would be good things for my family that Santa brought and for me. However, my parents told me that I had to wait till at-least 7 am before I came out of my room. They knew that I would be too excited to sleep, so I had to wait till at least 7 am or later so they could get plenty of sleep. However, I couldn’t sleep, so by 5:30 am, I would be awake. However, I didn’t want to get in trouble so I had to sit in my room kind of quietly as I waited for everyone else in the house to wake up. Then when everyone woke up, I still had to wait for what seemed like an hour for my parents to get everything set up for us to open presents. My Dad loved to record everything and get things on video. He had to get his tripod out, set up the music for us to listen to, and prepare some last minuet presents they had gotten us. Whatever he was doing it seemingly took forever. But I had to learn patience as I waited to go see what Santa brought me.
We are only 11 (10) days till Christmas and I know some of you are patiently and maybe not so patiently waiting to see what Santa, and other friends and family members are going to give you for Christmas. As a Church though we are preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ at Christmas and the readings this weekend speaks to us about patience, especially our second reading from St. James. James tells his readers to be patient for the coming of Christ. We may have experienced something similar in our own lives. God has promised to us that good things have come, but it may appear to us that God is slow in making his promises to us and that growth in the spiritual life and other things may come slowly. James is speaking to a people who thought the second coming of Christ was going to be soon, but it is seemingly delayed. So he encourages them to have patience as they wait for the second coming of Christ.
What about in our lives it seems to that God is delayed in his coming and 2000 years and Jesus has still yet to come. I think we are reminded that God’s coming is not on our own time but rather on the time of God. However, I believe in our personal lives, we can still see good things happen, and the blessing of God come down on us even now, and sooner than we may realize again, the challenge is to be patient and not grow discouraged if God’s blessing doesn’t come as we expect.
Our Gospel reminds us of the good things that Jesus is doing and even though Christ hasn’t come back, his Church is still doing the good work that is explained in the Gospel. Jesus reports back to john what he is doing and what is happening for him. He says, “the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” How, though, do we see this still lived out in our world today? We may not experience miraculous healing in our own lives, but we still, in a way, see God living out his goodness to us today.
Jesus, during his time, helped the blind to regain their sight. We may not have physical blindness but in some ways, we can be blind to other things in our lives. I may have told you before I deal with some anxiety. There was a time in my life I was blind to that and how it affected my life but now I better understand it. You could say God open my eyes to see how anxiety affects my life. Sin can blind us and we can be blind to the effects of our sinfulness. However, God can heal that blindness and help us to know our sinfulness and be healed of our sinfulness.
The same can be true for the other healings did in our lives. None of us may deal with leprosy, but we all struggle with the leprosy of sin and how that affects us and hurts us. However, through the grace of the confessional and other means, we are healed of those ailments and struggles.
Again as St. James spoke about, we will need to be patient in our lives for these things to happen as they will not happen overnight. We are on God’s time, not our own time, and the challenge is we need to wake up every day with that same patience.
My hope for all of us is that as we grow in our relationships with the Lord, we have the daily perseverance to follow him, even on those days that we may not see the good he is bringing into our lives. However, just like a little child knowing that good things are coming into their life on Christmas morning, I hope we can have the same patient expectation of the good things that God will bring into our lives.