The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! The Two Sides of Bread Waiting for the Ticket The Groove of the Spirit Jesus Is Not Like Congress A Divine Partnership What Kind of Love Is This? Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle Ask First for Sight What God Sees Only God The Arc of the Universe Turmoil, Fear, and Dismay The Gift of the Desert A Punch for the Holidays Politics and Religion Jesus Always Understands One Body God’s Love The Call Blessings and Woes Imitating God’s Mercy The Blind Leading the Blind The Devil’s Agenda Looking Closer, Looking Beyond Accepting God’s Love Mob Thinking The Easter Egg Fishing with Uncle Mike Loving Like Jesus God’s in Love with This World

God’s Timing

January 12, 2014/click on the left end of the black bar to play-pause

Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7;  Matthew 3: 13-17
Fr. George Smiga

All of us have had the experience of trying to accomplish something, trying to make something work. It might be a project that is very important to us. It might be a relationship that we are trying to find, or perhaps trying to heal. It could be a job that we are looking for or a fear that we are trying to overcome. Whatever we are trying to accomplish, here is a truth about the process. Sometimes we find that everything goes smoothly, that all the pieces fall into place. And other times we cannot make it work. Every move we make seems to be blocked. To put this in other terms, sometimes we succeed almost without trying, and other times success seems impossible. What we can conclude from this is that it takes more than our own best effort to reach success. Other factors are involved. The circumstances have to be receptive. The stars need to align. The timing has to be right.

Today’s readings accept this human truth about the importance of timing and then go on to enlarge it. The gospel today is a scene in which the timing is right. For thirty years Jesus lived a quiet life in Nazareth, but today in this scene at the Jordan after hearing the preaching of John, it becomes clear to Jesus that now is the time to act. Now the time was right to proclaim the good news of God’s Kingdom. What becomes clear in the baptism scene is that for Jesus the timing is not only the right timing, it is also God’s timing. This is why Jesus is successful in his ministry. Jesus is the son who is in sync with the Father. Because he is following God’s mission, because he is on God’s time line, he is able to achieve our salvation.

Now, Jesus is God’s servant and so are we. He is for us, then, a model of what our servant-hood should be. He shows us that God’s servant needs to be in touch with God’s timing. This why Isaiah in the first reading describes the servant of God as he does. In the reading, the servant of God acts, but he is no bully. He does not push his weight around. He does not raise his voice. He does not cry out in the street. He does not break a bruised reed. He will not quench a smoldering wick. The servant has a gentle touch, because the servant knows that he must always be testing to see whether God’s time is now. He or she knows that if it is not God’s time, no amount of force will lead to success. If it is God’s time, force will not be necessary.

The challenge for us is to be attuned to God’s timing. So, if there is a relationship that we are trying to find, or a hurt that we are trying to heal, the first thing we must ask is, “Should I act now or should I wait?” If there is a cause we want to take up or a fear we want to overcome, we must discern, “Do I try now, or should I try later?” Being God’s servant means that we do not need to raise our voice, we do not need to force the issue. We can act with the gentle touch because the important thing is for us to act in sync with God’s timing.

And here’s the good news! God already knows the good things in our life that we need and God has already chosen a moment in which to enable us to achieve them. Our role is to watch for that moment, to test regularly whether God’s time is now. Because when that moment comes, we, like Jesus at the Jordan, will hear the voice of God saying, “You are my beloved daughter. You are my beloved son. Now is the time to act. Now is the time to succeed.”

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