This Sunday the theme of the readings centers on “preparing the way of the Lord.” We hear about this preparation both from Isaiah and Mark. The preparation is ordered to one who will come and deliver the people.
It is very interesting that in God’s plan, he deemed preparation as necessary. In fact, the period of preparation seemed excessive to the people as we hear from the second letter of St. Peter. He basically tells the people that God’s time is not their time and that “...with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promises” (2nd Peter 3: 8-9).
God’s apparent delay rings true when we are struggling with certain challenges in our lives, particularly challenges concerning loved ones who have left the Church or have a chosen a way of life foreign to Christ. During my priesthood I have heard so many stories of parents with broken hearts over the choices of their children to leave the Catholic Church. In such an important matter it is easy to take the rejection of the Catholic Church personally. In other words, in rejecting the Church and/or Christ’s way of life one’s child seems to be rejecting his parent.
Although this is certainly understandable, we must fight against such reasoning and consequent emotions. The working out of grace and one’s free will to embrace faith is somewhat mysterious and beyond our understanding. Pope Francis’ writing on Evangelization addresses the need for patience in such situations. He states: “Evangelization consists mostly of patience and disregard for constraints of time. . . It cares for the grain and does not grow impatient at the weeds.”
I would venture to say that nearly everyone knows someone close who has left the Catholic Church. This Advent, as we prepare for the coming of the One who seeks out what was lost, let us persevere in fervent prayer and patient waiting for our loved ones who have left the Church to return. Ultimately, it is for those who have strayed that Christ was born into the world, “for he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).
Ad majorem Dei gloriam,
Fr. John F. Jirak, Pastorblog comments powered by Disqus