In this week’s second reading, St. James urges patience on his readers four times. He is specifically asking them to be patient for the second and final coming of the Lord which the early Christians believed would happen in their own generation. It is difficult for us human beings to be patient even in the ordinary things of life. Imagine how hard it would be to wake up each morning and wonder if this was the final day, the day when the Lord would return. St. James teaches them that they must live in expectant waiting. They can be sure the Lord is coming and anticipate that, but while they wait they must live productive lives. In one of his letters St. Paul chastises people for
refusing to work because, after all, why bother when the Lord was coming so soon. Perhaps all these centuries later, we have come to accept the delay in the Lord’s return. But we must not lose sight of the fact that He will return, and at a time we do not expect. Why not tomorrow? In any case,
we too must live in expectant waiting. What that means is that we must live in a way that is building for the final Kingdom. We must live now in a way that is in accord with the Kingdom to come. What that looks like is lives that put into daily practice the Beatitudes the Lord has given us. We must be people of mercy, peace, and justice. People who are poor in spirit, that is, who can enjoy the things of this word while recognizing that our final hope lies not in them, but in truth, holiness and love. If we live that way, whenever the Lord comes, He will say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter the Kingdom of my Father”.