Choose Joy – Week 3

Be patient…until the coming of the Lord.

See how the farmer waits…being patient…

You too must be patient…

Take… an example of… patience… the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

James 5:7-10

My Dear Friends in Christ,

In the immortal words of Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes, “Did you ever wonder…” about a God who repeats a message over and over and over and over again? Four times in this single, small passage, we are told to be patient, to wait for, indeed expect and call for, the coming of the Lord. It’s the patience we see in Isaiah and John the Baptist, the two prophets we meet in our readings this week. Both are struggling in a world that has rejected not only the message they were sent to proclaim but also the messenger. Both are writing from prison. Both are scared that their lives may have been in vain.

Still, in all of that, they choose JOY. They are patient realizing that patience is not passive, not simply finger tapping waiting for the Lord to get here ASAP. They are active in their patience, still proclaiming the message, still reaching out to others, still trusting in God. This is how they choose JOY, going beyond the current storms they are facing, standing erect and raising their heads.

They know Joy comes from God’s Presence, that it’s not mere happiness and that it takes time. And patience. Lots and lots of patience.

Our call, as our second reading reminds us is to do the same as these prophets. To see, even in the storms around us, a God who is close and wants to help, wants to be with us as we struggle. This is why we can be patient (and actively so) and ultimately why we can also choose JOY. Not because God makes it easy, not because we’re strong enough on our own, but in the loving hands of a God who comes to us, not only at Christmas but every time we seek. Yes, it is difficult, daunting, and, at times, debilitating. But God’s at work even there.

Your homework this week is to spend some time being patient. Consciously slow yourself down and use the time and space to think of God.

Don’t rush. Use the time waiting in line to offer God thanks.

Spend some of that time also thinking right now about who needs this message of hope and the possibility of God’s gentle and loving presence. Think about that person and then invite them to join you here in the Pastorate at Christmas. Invite them to the Mass at the Fire House in Brunswick where we’ll have a special focus on those who may have been away. There will be plenty of parking and seating. Invite those who need to hear of God’s love, those who have been away, or hurt by the Church or are scared about coming back. Let them know that you’re praying for them, investing in them and so are we.

We’ve got invitations listing all the specifics and the Christmas schedule is also posted on line. In other words, invite someone who needs Jesus and help them to choose the JOY of experiencing God’s love right here in southern Frederick County. We pray for one another.


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