Hope. The promise of all good in the midst of…whatever, a pandemic. As Christians, we should be people of hope. We know we should have every reason to be optimistic, to set aside cynicism and believe in the good to come. Hopefulness, by definition, is a future-oriented virtue. Sometimes we get caught up in our present condition that we can’t see beyond our current state of difficulties and feel that it is: “always winter but never Christmas” (from Narnia).
If we desire to be hopeful people, we need to understand that faith—which is the basis for hope—is not dependent on any circumstance. We are assured by God that all of our lives (past, present, future) are in His hands—more capably than in our own.
The First Reading from the Book of Wisdom talks about how God uses clemency to judge, lenience in His governance, how God is kind—and so we have good ground for hope that in spite of ourselves we will be forgiven and loved unconditionally. Oh, that we humans would follow this example of governance! I have hope that this could happen… St. Paul tells us today that the Spirit “comes to the aid of our weakness…” And just when we do need Him, I think.
Jesus today speaks in many parables: good seed sown with weeds that are all allowed to continue growing together until the harvest; a mustard seed (the tiniest of seeds) that grows into a large and generous bush; a small amount of yeast that yields a lot of loaves. Hopefulness is demonstrated in these parables in that those who are good will be gathered up in spite of the weeds, who will receive their just reward (a fiery furnace); and how something so small—a mustard seed or yeast—can result in a huge blessing for all.
Small things can point us toward large moments of hope—and I encourage you to open your eyes to these moments. We all grieve many things (choral singing!) that have been lost from our lives during this pandemic—and the list is long and varied. But we have also gained much, too: we have been forced into some different perspectives of our world, our relationships, our economic systems, justice, our stewardship of all our world’s resources—sometimes our very core values re-evaluated. The list of blessings is long as a result of circumstance—and some wisdom may be won by us because of it. That makes me hopeful.
This week I found that I could get library books from our Livonia Main Library—something that for a long while I was unable to do. They have worked out a safe method for borrowing and returning books—a new format—just like I hope, I know, we will find ways to keep safe and continue on in our lives. Optimism, positive thinking—hopefulness. God (the Lord of All Hopefulness) reminds us that when nothing else remains; hope, with faith and love will remain. We will find a way through all of this time of Covid—and do hope—and do believe—come out the better for all of it in the end.
Keep singing in your hearts!
Just a Note: This lovely piece of music brought tears to my eyes…and gave me hope for our future in music. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Camden Voices: True Colors
“Although I have often abandoned you, O Lord, you have never abandoned me. Your hand of love is always outstretched toward me, even when I stubbornly look the other way. And your gentle voice calls me, even when I obstinately refuse to listen.” Prayer by Teresa of Avila, Spain (1515-1582)