HOMILY FOR THE 3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR A.
THEME: WHEN PATIENCE MEETS EXPECTATION
BY: Fr Livinus C. Igbodekwe.
1. Expectation and patience belong in the future.
Expectation cannot fully be appreciated without patience. No child would ask the mother for a snack without giving the mother some time to procure the snack. No one expects to be a doctor without patiently enduring the process of training/education. Some people love to get the provision without getting through the process. The promised land is an expectation yet it can’t come without a forty years of wilderness journey.
2. No farmer expects to see fruits without labour and patience.
The farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently: A farmer does not give up when his crop does not come to harvest immediately. He keeps on working even when the crop cannot be seen at all. Even so Christians must work hard and exercise patient endurance even when the harvest day seems far away. And patience saves a man from a great deal of haste and folly.”
When we think about it, the waiting and need for endurance we have in the Christian life is very much like the waiting of the farmer. “Until it receives the early and latter rain”: The pictures of the early and latter rain should be taken literally as James intends. He refers to the early rains (coming in late October or early November) that were essential to soften the ground for plowing, and to the latter rains (coming in late April or May) which were essential to the maturing of the crops shortly before harvest. There is no allegorical picture here of an early and a latter outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church.
3. Do not grumble against one another: Times of hardship can cause us to be less than loving with our Christian brothers and sisters. James reminds us that we cannot become grumblers and complainers in our hardship – lest we be condemned even in our hardship. The Israelites grumbled against God and Moses,. Grumbling doesn’t help a situation but worsens it. John the Baptist waited for the manifestation of Christ, and shortly after his epiphany, John was put in prison. He desired his whole life to see the miracles of Jesus but he missed them. It could be very annoying and frustrating.
4. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! Jesus comes as a Judge, not only to judge the world, but also to assess the faithfulness of Christians (2 Corinthians 5:10). In light of this, we cannot allow hardship to make us unloving towards each other.
Among these prophets, Jeremiah is one example of someone who endured mistreatment with patience. He was put in the stocks (Jeremiah 20:2), thrown into prison (Jeremiah 32:2), and lowered into miry dungeon (Jeremiah 28:6). Yet he persisted in his ministry. You have heard of the perseverance of Job: James essentially tells us three things about Job and why he is a significant example for the suffering Christian.
5. When we understand that God has a good purpose, even painful things are put into different perspective. “If a man were to attack me with a knife I would resist him with all my strength, and count it a tragedy if he succeeded. Yet if a surgeon comes to me with a knife, I welcome both him and the knife; let him cut me open, even wider than the knife-attacker, because I know his purpose is good and necessary.”
Dear friends, let us wait patiently because our patient endurance shall pay us someday!
Happy Sunday and grace-filled week!
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