In the Christian life, we hear very frequently that we need to deny ourselves and take up our crosses. Well today, Moses and Jesus are yet again reminding us to do just that.
Moses tells the Israelites that the Lord will bless them if they obey Him. He lays it out for them very clearly, telling them that they obey the Lord by “loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments.” And Jesus tells us that “if anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
The theme of the day’s readings is very clear: Follow Jesus. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
What I’d like to focus on, though, is the responsorial psalm. Honestly, most days I just kind of gloss over the psalm and don’t give it a whole lot of thought. For some reason though, this really struck me:
“He (who hopes in the Lord) is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers.”
That phrase “in due season” just keeps jumping out at me. I think that patience is absolutely one of the most difficult virtues. And I’m not talking about patience in terms of being patient with your talkative neighbor, or being patient and not flipping out when your plane doesn’t board on time. I’m referring more to the kind of patience that also requires trust in the Lord.
I can’t help but think of the 60s song by the Byrds, “To everything – turn, turn turn, There is a season – turn, turn, turn, And a time for every purpose under heaven.” Yes, that actually comes from the Bible – Ecclesiastes – but I grew up listening to 60s and 70s music with my parents, and I relate most things in life to song lyrics. So often I forget, or choose to ignore, that phrase “in due season” and the idea that “to everything there is a season.”
With all of the things that are at our fingertips because of technology, it is so easy to get trapped in the “I want it now” mindset.
But the Lord doesn’t work on my time! He works on His time. And His timing is perfect. So I need to get over myself and my desire for instant gratification, and trust and hope in the Lord. And to hope, according to Merriam-Webster, means to desire with expectation of obtainment.
In due season, when the Lord sees fit, He will answer our prayers. And just as Jesus asked the disciples, and asked us, in the Gospel this past Sunday, “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?…Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”
So let’s work on that this Lent — being patient with the Lord. He sure is patient with me. Maybe I should try being patient with Him. And trusting that His plan is good (actually, better than anything I could dream up) and that His timing is perfect.
–Katie DiFato served as a missionary with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) for three years at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA and is now working as the Pastoral Assistant at Blessed Sacrament in Savannah.