By Sister Jean Anne Zappa, OSU, president of the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville


Waiting seems to be the hardest thing to do for many of us—waiting in doctors’ offices, at the drive-thru at the bank or fast-food place. Then, there is waiting for that package you ordered or waiting for when you could get the COVID vaccine or booster.

Today begins a different kind of waiting—a waiting at Advent time—as the days grow darker, we wait for light; as we get discouraged, we wait for hope; as we hear unwelcome news, we wait for some good news. As we wait for Christmas and the celebration of the birth of the child savior, we can often miss the good news—that Christ is here and alive in each one of us, present in our world waiting for us to say YES.

Last Thursday, I saw a homeless man sitting on a bench on Taylorsville Road near Seneca park entrance. As I was coming to work on Friday, he was still there with a blanket over his head. It was below freezing the night before, so I called 311 who directed me to non-emergency who directed me to someone else as I was waiting to see how this homeless man could be checked on and helped.

He was still there Friday night. On Saturday he was still there, and I took him some food. I asked if he wanted a shelter and he said, “yes I want to get to the Salvation Army shelter.” I told him I would be glad to call and asked his name. “My name is Cooper,” and spelled it for me.

Well, I called the twenty-four hotline and guess what? I had to wait! I waited for it to be answered and waited for the menu of options and waited when I called the extension only to get a voice mail. So, I left a message, hoping it would be retrieved. I tried another number and again waited for a list of extensions and when I got to a new extension, I left another voicemail.

I drove by the bench on Sunday because it was raining, and I was going to give Cooper a poncho to keep him dry, and if he were still there, I was going to ask some parish folks to help me get him down to the shelter. Well Cooper was gone, and I am hoping he got picked up by the Salvation Army shelter.

Today is Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, Cooper is still gone, and I am hoping he is at the shelter, safe. Cooper left one of his blankets on the bench and it is still there. Every day on my way to and from work I see the blanket and pray for Cooper and all the homeless people. Maybe Cooper left the blanket there for another homeless person who needs it. I think of all the waiting Cooper and all homeless folks do—sometimes not even sure what they are waiting for.

I heard a homily some time ago that said Advent is about waiting for Christ, but to remember that Christ comes in many disguises, because Christ is already here…waiting for us to recognize and accept him.

Cooper was my Christ this week. My advent prayer is that each of us will discover Christ in our Coopers. Remember, Christ is here, waiting for us.


Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
   teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
   for you are God my savior,
   and for you I wait all the day. 
Ps 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14