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Father Muench Says...

Advent: the patient is waiting patiently

Dec. 10, 2014

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Advent – patient watching – patience.

Personally, as I go through these days of rehabilitation, I receive this Advent message from everyone I talk with, from family and friends, from doctors and nurses. “Be patient and good things will happen.”

During the Advent season, the Church of today looks back to the Hebrew community before Jesus. Those people were holding on to a promise, a promise that soon there would be a Messiah, a Savior, who would bring God’s peace and forgiveness, happiness and love, to a needy world.
Living out this promise demanded years of patience.

For the faithful people of Israel, it was constantly patience.  For the great prophets of the Hebrew people patience was not easy. It often resulted in their frustration. They wrote and prayed “Come, Lord – come and save your people.” 

As we remember and celebrate Advent, we use the songs and words of the psalms and prophets, especially the Prophet Isaiah.

The psalms are those wonderful songs of the Old Testament; constantly they plead with God to come.  Psalm 85: “Lord, let us see your kindness and grant us your salvation.  I will hear what God proclaims; the Lord – for he proclaims peace to his people.  Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land.”
So, my personal companions during these days of patience are those generation of people who patiently waited – without losing faith and confidence that God would hear their prayers. 

This year, Advent has truly become a time of patient-waiting for me as I go through this time of healing.
Each year, during Advent, the Church points me to Isaiah, His is the Advent message that is truly familiar to all of us. It is a most powerful message of faith and confidence in the Lord, a message of patience.

Isaiah tells that this Savior, this Messiah, will transform our world because he will come with gentleness and patience.  “Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen one in whom my soul delights.  I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.  He will not cry out or raise his voice, nor make his voice heard in the street.  A bruised reed he will not break – and a dimly burning wick he will not extinguish; he will faithfully bring forth justice.”

So, my model and my example is our Lord and Savior – whom Isaiah looked forward to – Jesus who would come in peace and love, bringing his message to our world, gently and patiently.

Jesus would accept our humanity – even the suffering and a death for us – and he accepted it all so patiently.  I must walk with Jesus, walk in his patience, always confident that something good will come.

In this Advent spirit, I also turn to the Lord and plead that Jesus will come and walk with me, guiding me, supporting me, giving me the patience that I will not be afraid.

Isaiah says: “A voice is calling, clear the way of the Lord in the wilderness, make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.  Let every valley be lifted up and every mountain and hill be made low, and let the rough ground become as a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley.”  

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