Is there hope ?
Is there hope? Is there hope for our world, for our lives? We live in a world that looks for hope because we are so often presented with events in day to day life that seem beyond hope. What then can be the reason for hope? And what will hope provide since this world is not offering hope in the here and now? Is this indeed possible?
From the beginning of Christianity, there has been an understanding that this is a faith of change. Individuals are able to encounter the risen Christ and be a person as that desired by God. An encounter of this sort is only possible through Christianity in which God himself in the second person of the Holy Trinity came to us to provide the salvation humanity needed but could not provide for itself. Jewish writings describe the desire for union with God and a search for the Creator who offered a future Messiah to the people of Israel. This life of hope was endemic to the Chosen People. And we as the inheritors of this knowledge are in turn full of Holy Hope because of the Resurrection of the Messiah from the dead celebrated each year by Christians as the focal point of their faith. Change comes through the now defunct nature of death since death is conquered in the Resurrection. Christianity is based then on this hope and change. “Christianity is a religion of change” says Peter Herbeck in his booklet “Is real change possible” which I give to the men in the prison I visit weekly.
If this were not the case what would have been of Nicodemus? This rabbinic scholar questions Jesus and in this discussion Jesus teaches the meaning of this hope in rebirth (John 3: 1-21). Or the case of Zacchaeus mentioned in St Luke’s Gospel account (19: 1-10) who is offered a hope and change in his own life and through his encounter with Jesus changes his life and desires to make amends.
Hope comes to a world that is lost and reborn. It is in the loss of self that we find rebirth. It comes from letting go of the self-direction in our lives, which may not be well grounded or directed, and permitting God to find a lead for us. In self-abandonment we come to find the actual direction in our lives, like walking through a dark room with no vision. We can have complete confidence of success in reaching the other side by virtue of the faith in the One directing our steps. There will often be dark moments, moments of despair, moments of incomprehension of situations we pass through.
We then can have hope in the future. The future, when lifted to a bright morning allows our present to be filled with those same rays of hope. So, in fact, our hope begins even now! But persevere in this hope. There will be dark moments to try us, and which will disturb our sense of peace (see a previous blog post about this) but don’t lose heart, don’t despair, because real change is possible and real hope exists for us as sons and daughters of a loving and merciful God.