THE 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

God’s Own Time (Habakkuk 1:2–3; 2:2–4)

God is good, but God is slow. We trust in God’s plan. We believe that virtue will be rewarded and evil will be punished. But we get tired of waiting for it to happen.

The prophet Habakkuk says God has given a vision that we can easily read. But the vision may not be fulfilled soon. It works on its own time. Still, it will press on to its fulfillment and it will not disappoint those who hope in it. “If it delays,” the prophet says, “wait for it, it will surely come.” But it can take a while.

Faith is what happens while we wait on a slow God. We believe because we have experienced God’s love and mercy throughout our lives. We rely on the One who alone can fulfill our desires. We trust that God wants goodness as much as we do. But the waiting is still hard.

“How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen!” says Habakkuk. Actually, God does listen. God longs to hear our prayers. God wants righteousness even more than we do. God will deliver, but the vision has its own time. God asks only one thing of us: patience, a patience born from faith.

Stirring the Flames (2 Timothy 1:6–8, 13–14

We do not use all the tools we have. A computer can do much more than a typical user understands. Cell phones have more bells and whistles than people know about. Many of us do not know what to do with all the tools in the garage we bought, inherited, or that were left behind. We have more clothes than we can wear, more books and magazines than we can read, more television stations than we can watch. Our lives are filled with opportunity.

So are our hearts. God has given each of us a wealth of tools at our disposal. We have cleverness and concern, ingenuity and compassion, bravery and confidence — but we do not always use them.

The Second Letter to Timothy speaks of our spiritual gifts as something waiting to be stirred into flame. “I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.” The Holy Spirit came to each one of us in Baptism and Confirmation, implanting the gifts of divine life in us like seeds. Or like sparks. They are ready to do the work that God intended them to do.

Those gifts lack only one thing. They need to be stirred. That is up to each of us. If we are moved by the needs of the world, we will move for the needs of the world. Stir your gifts into flame!

Reflections: Lectionary Bulletin Inserts: Reflections on the First and Second Readings, Year C © 2019 Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications. All rights reserved. Written by Paul Turner. Lectionary for Mass © 2001, CCD.