The word “hopeless” is perhaps the saddest word I know. I have never been so low or felt so useless that I ever felt hopeless, yet I know friends who struggle mightily to hold onto hope. We become spiritually crippled without hope.
St. Paul writes in today’s selection from his Letter to the Romans, “For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.” To be hopeless, then, would mean that we cannot imagine what could be, we cannot imagine anything changing.
Then we hear in the second reading Jesus trying to come up with some ways to describe what really is indescribable…the Kingdom of God. Like Paul, Jesus is inviting us to hope for what we cannot see. But it’s there, it’s at work even if we cannot perceive it. It’s like the tiny mustard seed that, over time, grows to welcome the birds of the sky, or the hidden yeast that silently leavens the dough.
Hope is much more than wishful thinking, like hoping my team will win the pendant race. Hope is living our lives as a sower of mustard seeds or as a baker adding yeast to the dough. The little things we do for others, the kindnesses we share with those we encounter each day, the genuine expression of gratitude to the waiter…all of it is living in hope. Does our kindness make any difference? I sure hope it does, even if I may never see it. Let us live in hope, and live hope each day.
Robert Hotz is a consultant with American City Bureau, Inc. and was the Director of The Passion of Christ: The Love That Compels Campaign for Holy Cross Province.