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

Waiting for the Final Gift

Fr. George Smiga
January 13, 2013
Luke 3: 15–16, 21-22

At the beginning of today’s gospel we are told the crowds around John the Baptist were filled with expectation. Things were tough in first century Palestine. The Romans ruled with an iron fist. People were poor. Things needed to change. Because the Jews were a people of faith, they were expecting that God would send an anointed one to set things right. Then John the Baptist appeared. His preaching was so powerful, his presence was so dramatic, his vision was so clear, surely he was the one that God was sending. The people’s hearts were filled, asking, “It’s John! It’s John! We know it’s John, the one to inaugurate the kingdom.” So you can imagine their disappointment when John set them straight. “I’m not the one,” he said, “There’s one who’s coming after me.” The people groaned. “Who could be better than John? Why doesn’t God make him the messiah? We’re tired of waiting. We’re so close. Why do we have to wait for another?”

This complaint and this pattern is something we recognize in our own lives. Often times when we are looking for something we want or something that we need, it seems that we are so close. “Finally, I’m getting a direction to my life, in my education, in my career. At long last I have found someone that I can date who is generous and good and genuine. It seems so right. Here is a business opportunity that looks like it will never fail. Disagreements in my family are suddenly beginning to thaw and people are talking to one another.” When these things begin to happen our hearts fill with expectation. We are so close. Maybe this is the time. Surely this is the way that God will gift us. Then, something happens and it becomes clear that it is not going to work, that the things we were hoping for are not going to happen, that what seemed so close is no longer a possibility. Like the crowds around the Baptist, we groan, “Why couldn’t this have been it? What is God up to? Why do we still have to wait?”

These are all honest and good questions. But here is the way a person of faith answers them: What is God up to? God is up to something good, although it might not be the good we are expecting. Why do we have to wait?  Because God is preparing to give us a good thing, perhaps a better thing. When our career search comes to a dead end, we still need to believe that God has a plan for us. When the person we are dating walks away, we still need to trust that God is preparing for us someone to love. When the growth in our family comes to a standstill, we still need to believe that there is healing, and that God is preparing to offer it.

Sometimes it is only when we receive the final gift that it becomes clear how all the earlier hoping and expecting was merely opening our hearts to the gift that God was planning to give. When Jesus finally appeared, then the crowds around the Baptist understood what all their hoping and excitement was about. The Baptist was only preparing the way for Jesus.

If we can trust and believe in the final gift that God is preparing to give us, we will not be disappointed. Our God will not be outdone in generosity. Often the gift we finally receive is more than we were expecting. After all, the crowds around John the Baptist were expecting a messiah, but what they received was God’s beloved son.

Change this in Theme Options
Change this in Theme Options