By Mary Kaye Falcony
Connecting Faith and Life
The second reading from Sunday, May 17, included, “Always be ready to give explanation to anyone who asks you for the reason for your hope” (1 Peter 3:15). I think this reading is extremely well-suited for the current circumstances we face as families and communities, and as a nation.
We find ourselves in the midst of an unprecedented event, and many are facing the undeniable realities of great loss. Some have lost loved ones, others their livelihoods and still others a sense of well-being. Yet we hear clearly that we need not despair for no matter what, there is a reason to hope. And that reason is found in the person of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Hope is one of the Theological virtues. Unlike the Cardinal virtues, which we work to cultivate, hope is a gift given to us. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “Hope is the Theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in God’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit” (CCC 1817). For those of us who believe, hope is not a mere wish that everything will turn out ok, but instead a deep trust that God will fulfill his promises. This trust sustains us and also allows us to act even in the face of great turmoil in our lives.
When discussing the topic of this article with my husband, he shared with me a recent homily given by Father Larry Richards. After listening to the homily in its entirety and reflecting on what had been shared, I couldn’t help but come back to three questions that had been posed:
- Are you a person of hope?
- Can you explain the reason for your hope?
- Do you bring hope to others?
I am currently sitting with these questions, and I encourage you to pause in prayer at some point soon and do the same.
As I sat with these questions, another one surfaced for me. Where do I find signs of hope today? I am a firm believer that, even though challenging times are upon us, the Spirit of God is always working among us. It may not be obvious to some, but the Spirit is present – stirring in the human heart and moving us to action. I see proof of this every day.
It is inspiring to see how many people refuse to give in to darkness and despair, but instead choose to be light for others. There are so many examples of this that I have seen I could fill several Message columns but here are just a few that I have witnessed personally.
- Neighbors offering to do grocery shopping and deliver food for those who are more vulnerable
- Masks being made available for free
- Young professionals taking up monetary collections and buying essentials for a local homeless shelter
- Intentional patronage to local small businesses
- Parishes making every effort to keep people connected with the community through daily reflections
- Sunday Mass streamed
- Personal contact made to those who are alone
These are visible signs of hope!
I leave you with these words spoken at World Youth day by St. John Paul ll as a source for continued inspiration:
“My dear young friends, I pray your faith in Christ will be lively and strong. This way you will always be ready to tell others the reason for your Hope. You will be messengers of hope for the world.”