Genesis 8:6-13, 20-22
Both of today’s readings today remind me of the role that time plays in coming to new life, new wisdom, new action.
Thinking about Noah’s journey on the waters, hunkered down for what must have seemed an eternity of days, he weathered the storm surrounded by all that had meaning in his world. How he must have longed to have his previous life restored! His life "adrift," however, would only be ended…when it was ended, and by a force greater than himself and his own desire.
Similarly, the blind man in the Gospel does not have clear sight instantly; his initial vision is cloudy and he cannot even interpret properly what he first sees. It is only when Jesus lays hands on him a second time that the world comes into focus.
How many times in the Bible are we shown that we don’t always understand, speak or see the truth our "first time out of the gate." False prophets abound. Peter denies Jesus Himself three times; a weary Jesus must constantly remind the disciples of the Father’s will. There is a long arc to our spiritual history.
The coming to truth–or coming home–is a process that unfolds often quite mysteriously. It can take time and spiritual discipline to "get it." We are an active participant on the journey to be sure, but sometimes, like Noah, the most we can do is choose to live and tread water faithfully until the moment arrives when our vision is changed and new life is possible.
As I write this, President Mubarak in Egypt has stepped down. Here in our midst is the story of a people waiting 30 years to speak their personal and collective political truth. And now, in a "moment," life is dramatically altered and, whatever happens next, their reality will never be the same.
Our spiritual truth is hard won, too, and its development requires time, patience and surrender so that when the right moment comes, we can truly respond with the fullness of our being. But lest we think we can play "fast and loose" with our newfound insight, all we need to do is remember Jesus cautioning the sighted man to "avoid the village." It is a precious gift, and one to be cherished.
Nancy Nickel is director of communications at the Passionist Development Office in Chicago.