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The hemorrhaging woman in the Gospel suffered for twelve years before the Lord walked past her: twelve years of doctors’ ripping her off, twelve years of a failed health care system, twelve years without making a contribution to society, twelve years of sleepless nights, twelve years an outcast, twelve years of not having a life. Still, those twelve years were also productive. She grew in faith. Jesus said to her, “Your faith has saved you.” Twelve years of productivity. When God appeared to Moses, he said, “I have heard the cry of my people.” Here is my question. Why did God wait for four hundred years? Do you know what the Israelites did while they were waiting for God during that time? It tells us in the Bible. They multiplied. So how do you multiply? You fall in love, get married, and have kids. Imagine a young Israelite man during the enslavement years in Egypt. He is forced to carry bricks to the top of the Pyramid all day. In addition to this, taskmasters are pushing him beyond his limit with cruelty. That is one long, hard day. When he returns home, tired and sore, his wife says to him “You had a hard day,” and she hugs him, and then…they have another kid. Instead of love, the young Israelite could have hated and retaliated, but he and the others would have experienced a large decrease in numbers due to war. Instead, they chose to love, and for that, they multiplied. Waiting paid off. Because four hundred years of multiplying, they built a great nation for God. That is why God made them wait. Waiting for the lord is always productive.
As you may know, we have seminarians studying with us from all over the country. One is from New York. I was in conversation with the New York seminarian three years ago, and he mentioned that he was sad that his New York Jets lost to the Patriots last weekend. Then he mentioned his beloved team, the Giants, who have only three wins all season. I then asked him about the New York Knicks and how they were doing. He grimaced in pain. I stated, “Just look at you. You are miserable. You do not have to be miserable. Join us Boston fans. We are happy. We just had a victory parade. All of our teams this year are probably going to be in the playoffs. Unite with us, and you will be happy again.” He looked at me and retorted, “Never.” I understand his resistance. Times are tough for him and other New York fans, but he waits. He waits because he knows that in the offseason the Yankees will buy the best players in baseball. He waits because he knows that all the best athletes want to play for New York because there is a lot of money there. They have great restaurants and entertainment in New York. He knows it is just a matter of time and so he waits.
Look at our Church today. The Church does not have the power or the influence it once had. The numbers of those going to church have decreased substantially over the last decade. We watch as our church leaders struggle from the difficulties that challenge us. Yet, many of us still faithfully come to church. Why? Because we know. We know that it is just a matter of time before the Lord comes in a cloud and appears in all his power and glory. We could get discouraged and leave, but instead, we wait for the Lord. It is productive waiting. While we wait, we multiply. We multiply our good works. We multiply our sacrifices for others. We multiply our generosity and forgiveness. We multiply and grow in faith. Welcome to Advent, a time to wait for the coming of the Lord. But remember, waiting for the Lord is always productive.Back to All Homilies