Father Adam began his homily this morning by looking out at us from the pulpit, smiling and then saying, “How do we define hope?” My mind immediately went to this from the first reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, “…because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. Of this you have already heard through the word of truth, the gospel…” Colossians 1:5. This stood out to me as I read it at home and again when I heard it read this morning. Father focused his homily on this reference to hope from Paul’s letter.
Father said he thought about the word hope. How to define it? So he looked it up in the *Catechism of the Catholic Church. Father proceeded to tell us that hope assures us of God’s grace and that belief in hope is not a matter of optimism but rather a source of strength backed by prayer. We pray because we have faith. Our faith leads us to love others and do charitable acts and a sense of solidarity.
At this point I saw a great connection in the theological virtues. The virtues of faith, hope and love are inseparable! Perhaps most of you are already aware of this but for me the connection between the theological virtues was certainly a Holy Spirit moment.
Father reminded us that hope is a God given gift and if we refuse hope, we despair. This thought made me a little sad and I became teary-eyed, but Father was not finished with his short yet powerful message on hope. He reassured us that when we hope in God’s mercy we make a personal commitment to turn to Christ. Father ended the homily by encouraging us to have hope in the promises of Christ each and every single day on earth.
After Mass I told Father how much I appreciate his message of hope. I told him I sometimes find myself despairing. He said that people think of hope as happiness and reminded me that happy people often despair. He told me that this happens when we lack hope. He mentioned the suicide of Chris Farley and I thought of the more recent suicide of Robin Williams. I thanked Father again and as I walked away I thought “Surely all hope is connected to the hope in the promise of heaven given to us by Our Lord.” I’m grateful to Father Adam for such a wonderful eternal life saving reminder of the importance of hope.
“Jesus You are my Blessed Hope!”