Patiently Wait for the Advent of the Kingdom of God

Jijo Kandamkulathy, CMF

Claretian Publications, Macau

Mk 13:33-37


A rich man goes on a journey, entrusting his household to the guards and supervisors. He expects the guards to be alert and awake for his return at whatever hour of the night or day that may be. The story invites all to live the values of the gospel without slacking in the spirit until the salvation of the Lord comes.

Some wait expectantly and hopefully. Recently, the discovery of a deep-sea octopus baffled the marine scientist community. A mother octopus was brooding over the eggs for 53 months straight without food. This species of octopus is an epitome of patient waiting and endurance. When what she awaits appears, she just falls down dead with the satisfaction of seeing the awaited day!

Like the octopus, Israel waited for centuries for the Messiah. Sadly, they were not able to recognize the one they awaited when he came. That was a delusionary waiting. They had only a name but did not know the features of the one to come. So, they had constructed an image of the Messiah that best suited their predilections. Only a few like Simeon in the temple could recognize the gravity and preciousness of seeing the moment of the arrival of the one they were expecting.

Some wait wearily. We had become weary and restless with prolonged waiting during the pandemic crisis last year. I listened to many stories of waiting those days: a family waiting for a reunion, students waiting to go for their overseas studies, a father waiting to see a newborn child he has never held in his hands, and God alone knows, how much more.

Expectant waiting needs a good reason because waiting will test our endurance. Viktor Frankl brewed that concept into a condensed dictum: “If there is a why to live, you can cope with almost any hows.” A Christian awaits for the establishment of the Kingdom of God. This kingdom is hoped to be a painless world of pure joy without wants. The prayer “Our Father” also holds a key to this waiting, a waiting for the Kingdom of God on earth. If the situation or the person expected is going to be very joyful, we are willing to bear any difficulty. We are awaiting actively with a good reason for the establishment of the Kingdom of God!

Jesus tells us many stories of waiting. The story of the ten virgins narrates how the oil ran out for the five virgins. Running out of oil simply signifies the running out of faith while waiting. Jesus also narrates the story of the prodigal son, the story of a father’s patient but expectant waiting. Patient awaiting is a baptism. It can purify us completely into love. The story of the prodigal son speaks of a father who was waiting. He was not simply waiting. He was fattening a calf to celebrate the return of the son, whenever that happened. During the long wait he had converted himself into pure love. The time of waiting is like a physician who can heal all ills: our anger, our disappointment, and our sadness.

On the contrary, impatient waiting can breed hatred, frustration, panic, and even laziness. We can identify how fast we get frustrated; if the website you click on your mobile takes a little longer to load, we even grow angry with the rotating icon. Patient waiting seasons us to accept things as they are. Whereas, impatient waiting is like an artificially-colored mango. It will look very colorful but tasteless.

Edmund Hesse’s German novel protagonist Siddhartha is in search of all sorts of experiences in the world. Now he wants to become a businessman and asked a trader for help. The trader enquires what he has as capital. Siddhartha replies, “I can suffer hunger, I can patiently wait and pray.” Ability to wait and pray is a capital that can start us well into a great divine enterprise. Let us begin that enterprise in this Advent season.