The Miracle of Waiting

Written by Sr. Rosemary Finnegan, O.P.
Readings from:

We heard a great gospel story today.  Don’t you wonder what this poor sick man who had been sitting at this healing pool for 38 years first thought when this stranger named Jesus approached him and asked, “Do you want to be made well?” Perhaps he thought: “Did he even have to ask that?”  But since this man had developed an incredible habit of being patient while waiting, he explained he wanted to get into the pool, but he needed help.  Jesus did more than help him; he healed him.  Instantly, then, this poor man went from sickness to wellness, from desperation to exuberance, and from sadness to utter joy.  His patient, diligent waiting finally came to an end.

Interestingly, this man was sitting near the Sheep’s Gate close to the Temple.  It’s called ‘sheep’s gate’ because that’s where the animals were led for sacrifice in the Temple.  The man was ill, but not deaf, so it made me wonder how many prayers he must have heard coming from the Temple for all those 38 years.  It could very likely be that one of the psalms he heard repeatedly during that time was our responsorial psalm today, Psalm 46.  How comforting must it have been for him to hear these beautiful words:

The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken

Ps. 46: 2,3.

I think there’s a lesson in this for us today.  We are in a time of diligent, patient waiting as well…and it’s not easy.  In fact, it’s inconvenient, unnerving, and fearful.  Although we’re in this health crisis together, it’s pretty isolating at the same time.  We can relate to this poor man in our gospel; no doubt he felt isolated as well.  But we are also people of faith, and we can believe that “God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress” not just in the future to come, but in our present situation.  These comforting words of Psalm 46 make us recall that how we handle our situation can make all the difference.  We each have a spirit, a soul and a mind which sincerely seeks the peace and security of the Lord.  Psalm 46 isn’t saying we won’t have problems, but rather, when problems confront us, to remember that our refuge is the promise and peace of the Lord.

We have some time of uncertainty ahead of us yet.  May we remember, though, that during our time of patient and diligent waiting, God promises to be with us, as we heard in the last verse psalm 46:

The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

Since the daily Mass is being broadcast we have video of Sr. Rosemary giving her reflection here is the video: