Written by Sr. Rosemary Finnegan, O.P.
Readings from: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/102621.cfm
What keeps people going in tough times? How do people not get discouraged when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges of illness, job loss, or family difficulties? St. Paul tells us the answer in the first reading, and Pope Francis speaks of it often. Hope, they both say, is what sustains us.
“For in hope we were saved” Paul says. Hope is woven throughout his letter to the Romans. There was only a remnant of Jews in Rome at the time, and more and more Gentiles were converting. The constant indignities they all suffered as Christians was beginning to take its toll. They needed encouragement. Paul wants to inspire these beleaguered followers to “hold on”, “persevere”, and “hope”, lest they compromise Christ. To fall away from him should be unthinkable.
And about hope, Pope Francis says this: “…hope never disappoints…. In these times which appear dark, in which we sometimes feel disoriented at the evil and violence which surrounds us, at the distress of so many of our brothers and sisters, we need hope! We must not let hope abandon us, because God, with his love, walks with us… Each one of us can say: “I hope, I have hope, because God walks with me”. He walks and he holds my hand. God does not leave us to ourselves. The Lord Jesus has conquered evil and has opened the path of life for us.[i] “
Hope, then, motivates us to believe this world, its people, and the environment have a better future, and to continue to build the kingdom of God, We do our part to bring this about by being ‘generators of hope’, to borrow a phrase from Pope Francis. As a ‘generator of hope’, we can offer hope through our steady prayers, our doing good for others, working for peace and not listening to those who spread hatred and division. Being ‘generators of hope’, Francis says is to ‘live, love, believe, and with God’s grace, never despair.”
We face our daily challenges with hope because we are already victorious in Christ Jesus. He not only gave strength to those enduring persecution 2,000 years ago, but still continues to give us strength to face our personal and world problems. Hope is not something wishy or frail; it is rugged and strong because hope comes from God. Nothing can rob us of that hope.