What is Hope?
February 2021 Lecture
We start the new year with our “resolutions” like losing weight, finding love, getting a new job, winning the lottery, etc. This “wish list” is called “optimism”, the belief that tomorrow everything will be better, a hopeful desire for a better future. True hope, however, Christian optimism is “…faith in the conviction of things hope for, the belief in things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1).
Hope in God’s promises and belief in God’s word is the lifeboat we all should seek. We may be lonely, depressed, feeling abandoned, but Divine Hope transcends every human sorrow and gives us the ability to overcome the evil that seeks to oppress and defeat us. The Christian Life can does have periods of suffering and setbacks that test us but hope in the truth of our faith keeps us strong. (Job 7:6) Hope, enlighten by faith, and reinforced by continuous acts of charity strengthens our belief in the value of every human life-the unborn, those who have reached the age of reason, the elderly, and the divinely resurrected in Christ. Divine Hope, illuminated by true faith, accepts that there are no man-made fixes, no medical treatments, no scientific or technological marvels that are perfect because nothing apart from God is. Hope calls us to mutual concern and sacrifice to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. (1Tim 4:10).
Hope in Divine Revelation helps us to accept the mystery of hardship, suffering, misfortune and oppression. Hope comforts the soul and tells us to trust God to protect us by His power. No disorder, no disease, no unforeseen tragedy, not even death itself can weaken or threaten God’s ultimate plan for those who trust in Him. Our bodies may suffer and die but our souls are comforted by Him. (Isaiah 49:23).
Eventually, this COVID-19 virus will pass. But as long as there is sin in this world other problems will develop; biological, economic, social, political and spiritual. True hope, formed in faith, is the only lasting vaccine against pessimism and anxiety. The hope of the Gospel teaches us that suffering, and hopelessness don’t have the last word. This does not mean that trials and tribulations do not exist; we all must die according to the flesh. We are not immortal in the physical sense. Divine Hope, however, says that no matter how dark and difficult the present moment may be, the final victory belongs to us. Out hope, fortified by faith, doesn’t change or depend on how we feel in given moment. We share in Jesus’s victory over death. Faith and hope in the salvific power of God’s Word gives us the ability to overcome the evil that seeks to oppress and defeat us (Galatians 5:5, Romans 8:23-25). Christian Hope keeps our minds focused on the Divine Goodness and Love of God for his creation which no amount of evil and demonic mischief can destroy. In a culture with only minimal religious formation and a confused moral compass, the covid-19 virus has come as frightening shock. Without faith and little hope and belief in eternal life, fear of death creates mass anxiety, irrational fear and an easy to manipulate populace. When politics replaces true faith, fear replaces hope and the heart of many grows cold. Idols-sex, money and power-are worshiped instead of God. (Jeremiah 29:11)
The supernatural gift of hope is the opposite of fear and despair. Fear temps us to stay away from church, our families, our neighbors, charitable work and true fellowship. We are a church bathed in the light of Christ who is the Word of God! This light must not be put under a rug but on a mountain top for all to see. When we do not proclaim the Gospel, we proclaim the values of the world, a delusional worldliness. The proclamation of the Gospel is not mainly a goal of political change but the spreading of the of the Christian message “…the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)
Knights of Columbus Council 8157