The first reading from the prophet Habakkuk (1.2, 2.2-3) made us sit up straight this weekend if we happened to be in church for Mass.
How long, O Lord? I cry for help, but you do not listen!
I cry out to you “Violence!” But you do not intervene.
People of every age, from the beginning, have uttered that cry, right up to today’s migrants, refugees, and all who suffer from natural disasters. We don’t have to look to distant places to find cause to cry out to God, though. The violence and poverty are in our very streets. You and I are the brothers and sisters of everyone who suffers violence. Suffering – and in the midst of suffering – a cry to God for help. These are things we share in common.
Likewise, within us is a yearning for another day, when there will be no more racism, terrorism or sexism. We yearn for a day when our church heeds the call of Pope Francis in the name of Jesus to welcome all, all, all who call the church home and to welcome all others who come to our doors.
Yearning. Deep within us, we yearn for human realities that seem impossible.
Left to ourselves, we might well despair and smother the yearning in us before our hopes get too high. We fear the apparently impossible.
But God not only hears Habakkuk, God answers him – and us as well.
The vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment and will not disappoint.
If it delays, wait for it. It will surely come. It will not be late.
The vision of Jesus calls us to love without clutching, live without contention, serve without competition. These are not idle dreams. As yearnings within us, they are the voice of the Holy One speaking to us.
The problem is – we don’t easily believe that the vision is possible or that it is coming or that we will have what it takes to live by the vision.
But God knows us. God has not given us a cowardly spirit (2Timothy.7) but a spirit of power, love, and self-control as well as a faith that leads us to do things that are, at first, inexplicable. On the surface, we may judge that we are on a treadmill – doing the same thing day after day. We may fear that, as a society or a world, we are falling back into barbaric ways, or losing sight of life-giving values. We may conclude that we are a people without victory or without hope.
In one sense, there are no answers to some of the questions we ask of life and of God, but in another profound sense, the answer is within us in the form of an undeniable yearning for life, goodness, harmony, justice and peace.
This yearning is not born of naïve optimism, but rests on a bedrock of confidence in the God who invites us to…
…wait for the vision. It will surely come. It will not be late.
~ Sister Joan Sobala