Hope that is unseen

Readings for Tuesday October 27, 2009

First Reading: Romans 8:18-25
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 126
Gospel: Luke 13:18-21

We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance. (Rom 8:22-25)

Hope, this is one of the pivotal qualities of any good optimist. Saint Paul tells us today that we were saved in hope, a hope in Christ that is not seen, heard or understood with any of our earthly senses. I think that sometimes hope can seem like the theological virtue that is hard to grasp. We can all wrap our hands around what faith and love is (most of the time anyway), but hope is a little harder. Saint Paul tells us that "hope that sees for itself is not hope." So if we cannot not see it, touch it, smell it, taste it or hear it; then how do we know we have it? How do we know that it is around? Saint Paul wisely makes the association between hope and endurance, because I believe that they are very closely connected. I believe that our hope is the fuel for our faith. I believe that it is what keeps us going, what allows us to never quit or give up on Christ. I believe that the greater our hope, the greater our faith. Hope is not seen or heard, it is what drives us, what keeps us going, what keeps us waiting with endurance.

As I was reading the two parables from today's gospel, I realized that without the great hope of Christ in us, we will not seek to build up the kingdom. We all have a responsibility to help build up God's kingdom while here on earth. But if we do not have this important "optimistic fuel," things can become very discouraging and it can be hard to keep persevering in this life. But if we hold fast to the hope that we have, then we will realize that there is no need to be discouraged, or give in to despair (which is the opposite of hope). Hope gives us the fuel to continue on in God's plan to build up His kingdom. I pray that we all let this hope build in us, and that we will all be active in God's plan for us and for this world.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to surrender all of who we are to you, to give up our will in exchange for yours. Lord, we seek to be humble servants of you, and to let your light shine through us in this world. Lord, you alone know what is right and what is good for us, may we never stray from your loving care. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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