My father’s family came to Australia as dairy farmers and settled in the Taree district. Many of my relatives still live in that region, with some still on the land as farmers. They are the patient and practical side of the Stevens family . . . . . . and generally don’t have as many vices as their Sydney based relatives!!

The farmer knows patience and tolerance. It must be part of their lives. The farmer needs to have a detailed understanding of nature. Crops aren’t instantaneous , they need preparation, care and nurturing. The second reading this Sunday comes from the letter of James. James’ letter is thought to be written before 69AD. James’ letter contains no references to the events in Jesus’ life, but rather it really paraphrases Jesus’ words and actions. The Second Readings says:
“Think of the farmer;
How patiently he waits for the precious fruit of the ground
until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains!
You too have to be patient;
Do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon.”

So it is for us. I need patience in understanding what is happening in my present time, to be aware of my relationships, my strengths and my shortcomings. I also need to understand the future. I do not know my future, but it is filled with goodness, when I allow a spirit of charity, compassion and hope to mould my present time, which will shape my future. I need to have the patience of the farmer as I reflect this Advent season in preparing for Christmas 2019.

Fr. Tom

Rev Fr Tom Stevens