1 Peter 1:3-9
Today’s reading in 1 Pet 1:3 speaks about a "lively Hope". Sometimes in trying to understand what hope is; it might help to see what it is not. Hope is not wishful thinking. For instance I hope to be a millionaire, but I am not willing to lift a finger to work, or even buy a lottery ticket. When I hope in a biblical sense, I already have the substance for what I hope. For example if I hope for eternal life, I already have that life within me. To hope for anything in the spiritual life I already have the seeds of it by grace in my efforts to complete it
Hope does not mean that what I desire I have the ability to accomplish it by myself. I might be in quicksand and can’t get out by myself . But someone can throw a rope to me and pull me out. I have hope to be rescued, but not from myself. Our being social creatures by God’s design offers us great hope. The Church, our families, our parishes etc are there to help us to achieve the likeness of Christ. We can lose hope by putting to much confidence in ourselves and not enough reliance on others. Individualism has destroyed hope in many people.
But there are times in our lives when we are troubled with despair and feel so broken that we are blind to seeing any substance of good within us. People or even the Church itself seem unable or unwilling to help us. Then we hope against hope trying to hold onto Christ who is always with us unto the end of days. At times like this we must totally rely on the "abundant mercy" of God. I just love the end of Mathew’s gospel: "Lo, I am with you always, unto the end of the world." Amen! The great Amen means that we can bet our last dollar on God’s faithful mercy.
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.