How do we wait? We wait together.

O people of Sion, behold, the Lord will come to save the nations, and the Lord will make the glory of his voice heard in the joy of your heart.

[Is 30:19, 30]

Homily for Fourth Sunday of Easter | Fr. Will Rooney | Apr 30, 2023 Luke 10:41

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In the past 10 months with COVID we have been waiting and waiting. We wait a lot in life but, it seems like we have been waiting even more lately. We are waiting for a vaccine. We are waiting to be able to take off our masks and to be able to have full Churches. We are waiting for life to return to some semblance of normalcy.

So how do we wait? We have seem a lot of different examples of how people have waited, in the past ten months. Some good, some bad. People have used the time of waiting to get prepared for the next thing. Others have complained. Probably for most of us we’ve fallen into both of these camps many times across the time of pandemic.

But the events of the last few months, the waiting, we have endured have taught me something else about waiting.

Have you noticed how much time and energy has been spent in trying to bring human beings together in the past year? For example, my family in the beginning part of the pandemic, we had regular zoom calls to at least have some connection and communication.

We continue to be willing to endure rather annoying circumstances, things like masks and distancing, in order to be together as we wait for the end of this pandemic.

Perhaps more strikingly many have considered the risk for themselves and others and concluded that its better to wait together and have a greater risk of the spread of disease than to remain isolated.

These examples – the ingenuity, the willingness to take risk of health in order to be in communication with other human beings – show us something fundamental about how we wait. And it is already implicit in the that statement: we wait. “We wait” not “I wait”. To emphasize this in our minds we might say “we wait together.”

Brothers and Sisters, Advent is the season of waiting.

We look back to the historical “waiting” of Israel, of the longing for a Savior  — both in how they waited well and how they failed in so many ways – in order that we might learn how to wait eagerly for his second coming – his coming in glory. St. Peter reminds us of this in his 2nd Letter, “Since everything is to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire” (2 Peter 3:11-12)

How we wait matters as Christians because it determines whether we will be able to receive him with joy when he comes.  

As I’ve said before, we do not get to choose whether or even how long we wait, but we do get to choose how we wait. We wait because we are human; but how we wait determines whether we flourish or fail as human persons. How do we wait? We as Christians, like I spoke about in my homily last week, we always wait with our eyes fixed upon heaven. We wait with eyes fixed on heaven, because we need a heavenly savior.

But as these examples make clear, we also intrinsically wait together. We are not isolated individuals. The Father knows you as an individual. But your individual self, is never ever isolated from other persons. To be a person, means to be in relation to others.

No one of us created ourselves. We all have a mother and a father; more fundamentally, the fingerprint of God himself is imbued upon our soul. Christ comes to save you, but never just you.

Our entrance antiphon, reminds us of this fact today.

O people of Sion, behold, the Lord will come to save the nations, and the Lord will make the glory of his voice heard in the joy of your heart.

[Is 30:19, 30]

The Lord addresses the people of Zion. And he tells them that he will come to save the nations. Salvation is together.

If natural human life is intrinsically relational, how much more must be the life of grace. How do we wait? We wait for salvation, not so much as individuals, but in communion with one another.

If this is true, the Church, which is the communion of persons awaiting the Lord – this, by the way is one reason that we have traditionally faced the “east” (or at least all the same direction) in liturgy – is not extrinsic to salvation, but rather essential to it. The Church is not incidental to salvation but its very beginning. Being in the Church, in the Body is salavation. This is why the Church has taught – and continues to do so – “extra ecclesiam nulla salus” – outside the Church there is no salvation. Salvation is only through communion with the Mystical Body of Christ. There many levels of this communion.

Pope Benedict offers a pertinent reflection here, he says:

“Our faith is truly personal, only if it is also communal: it can be my faith only if it dwells in and moves with the “we” of the Church, only if it is our faith, the common faith of the one Church.”[1]

The “we” of the Church is essential and precedes every individual “I” of faith.

If all this is true, what keeps us from recognizing that the love of God has gathered us together and that we must wait together? This communion in waiting is not always evident.

Perhaps, I may feel cut-off from the Body, whether by my sins or those of others. I may be in the dark. But I’m not alone. I may feel isolated – John the Baptist for example was isolated and imprisoned. He was in the dark. Can you imagine that John would have imagined when he was proclaiming “Ecce Angus Dei” (a phrase we will hear later), that he would end his days in a dank dark prison cell?

The other common experience is that I may feel angry at another part of the Body of Christ. Divisions like those of the Church of St. Paul’s time abound in our time as well – they are a scandal to the world. They make the waiting intolerable. Likewise divisions in the family abound.

How do we train ourselves to overcome these temptations – to isolation and to division – us versus them? I suggest that a head on attack might have some success but that we might be more successful by an action of receptivity than an active grasping. Remember we wait with our eyes fixed on heaven, because we recognize we need a heavenly savior.

The communion for which we long – for which we are made – this communion is expressed most gloriously and fully in the celebration of the liturgy. This is why — though it is no way opposed to private devotions such as the Rosary – Liturgy is not the time for such private devotions. It is rather the time when the profound preexisting communion of the mystical body of Christ is made manifest most clearly this side of heaven.

This communion which we express through our common worship – consider the preface dialogue, gratias agamos domino deo nostro – endures at all times. This is why liturgy is a school of learning to wait well. We wait together. Liturgy makes manifest the profound truth that you are never, ever, ever, alone. It is the sacrifice which saves us by uniting us to God, and by extension to each other.

The reality brothers and sisters is that we are waiting together or we are miserable. Let the Spirit of the Liturgy inform your life. Recognize you are union with Christ and, thus in union with his body. Live life accordingly. We wait together with eyes fixed on heaven because we need a heavenly savior and he will save us together.


Published by Fr. Will Rooney

Fr. Will Rooney was baptized at St. Anthony’s Parish in Bryan, TX where his parents had been married. He has two younger brothers, David and Travis. Will received his First Communion at St. Anthony’s and around that time began to think about becoming a priest. Will was confirmed at St. Thomas Aquinas in May 2006. During high school, he actively participated in the parish youth group and was involved in robotics competitions. He and his brothers also raised poultry for 4-H and FFA projects. Upon graduation from A&M Consolidated High School in 2009, Will studied Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M University. While at A&M, he worked as a Middle School youth minister and felt a growing desire toward the priesthood. In his senior year at A&M, he decided to apply for seminary, was accepted, and began attending Holy Trinity Seminary for pre-theology after he graduated. Two years later, Will was sent to St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston for theological studies. He served his pastoral year at St. Louis, King of France, Catholic Church and School in Austin (2017-2018). He was ordained to the Diaconate May 18, 2019, and served his deacon year at Our Lady of the Visitation in Lockhart, TX. He was ordained to the priesthood June 27, 2020 currently ministers at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin.

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