|Many times when I read parables from the gospels I have a difficult time understanding what they mean. I usually read them a few times and let them “soak-in” to try and uncover their meaning. The gospel reading from today was no exception. The parables always seem to have a surface meaning, but also an underlying deeper message that takes a bit to uncover. Perhaps that deeper message is unique to each of us and is revealed by God’s grace.
As I read today’s passage in the Gospel of Luke, it certainly has the message of being “watchful” and being “ready” for something special that is yet to come at an hour that is unknown to us. I think I can wrap my arms around this message and accept it for the meaning that it has. But, as I let it “soak-in” for a bit, it seems to be telling me more. I am finding deeper messages that speak to patience.
In modern life we have all grown accustom to instant gratification. Our technology allows us to quickly and easily answer simple life questions like, “What was the score of the game last night?” or “What is the weather going to be like today?” All we have to do is pull it up on our smart phones or ask a smart speaker. Likewise, most of the foods we eat are heavily laden with sugar so that when we feel the uncomfortableness of hunger or low energy, we can grab a quick snack and quell these feelings within seconds. Without thinking too deeply, modernity seems to be a wonderful thing. But, perhaps it is also making it difficult for us to be patient and wait for what is yet to come – something that will bring greater rewards than instant gratification can offer.
Instant gratification is a wonderful thing when we want to know the score of the game. But, do these same expectations spill over into other parts of our lives, such as our spirituality? I know that it does for me. If I let myself go unchecked, I can get impatient and frustrated that God’s plan is not moving at the same pace as my own expectations. Perhaps this is what Jesus was saying to his disciples in Luke’s reading – “put aside your personal desires and time schedules and be patient”. And, perhaps it is in the quiet and waiting where we will find God. Perhaps the quiet and waiting allows our minds to slow enough that we are able to be in the best possible state of mind to receive the grace of God.
This is my prayer for all of us today. Let us have the ability to embrace the quiet and the waiting so that we can most readily hear God and be open to His grace.