Wait … Watch … Be Alert

Can it really be that the Advent Season has already come upon us while we have been waiting and watching – waiting for this horrible virus to die out, watching in horror as the numbers of people infected soar.  As we continue to wait and to watch.  I reflected upon the words “wait,” “watch,” and “alert.” 

It seems to me that we human beings spend a good amount of time waiting.  As a child, I waited for my birthday, for Christmas, for my turn, for “hurts” to heal.  As the first born in a large family, I remember watching my mother wait for the arrival of the next child to be welcomed into the family.  We then were alert to that child’s first tooth, first steps, first day of school.  We hear in the Advent readings from the prophet Isaiah the Israelites waited for release from captivity in Babylon for 50 years.   That was a lifetime for most.


About 20 years ago, the Sisters in our congregation committed themselves to becoming an Anti-Racist, multi-cultural congregation.  Yesterday, nearly 2oo Sisters and Associates gathered virtually via zoom for conversations about our experiences with the systemic racism in our country.  We listened intently and respectfully to our shared stories.  One person used the phrase, “We watch! We are alert” repeatedly, as a segue to the next event in her narrative, reflecting back on the readings for the first Sunday of Advent.  She reminded us that our black brothers and sisters in the U.S. have worked tirelessly and with much courage for 400 hundred years to bring about change.  It is now long past the time for white people in the U.S. to commit to and make the changes needed to make this a truly multi-cultural community and country. 


What do the words “wait,” “watch,” and “alert” spark in you?


Anne Sur OP

East Dubuque, IL