“The very first dream of all, is the creative dream of God our Father, which precedes and accompanies the lives of all his children. The memory of this blessing, that extends from generation to generation, is a precious legacy, that we should keep alive, so that we too, can pass it on.” (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation to Young People, Christus Vivit, #194)
CALL TO PRAYER
It can be tempting to spend a lot of time thinking about the future – and dreaming about the future can be a form of escaping from the present. But, for Pope Francis, Christians have a duty to look toward the future, and to think about what type of future Jesus wants us to build, for ourselves, our communities, and our world. We are part of God’s creative dream for his world, and we have a role to play in shaping that future in keeping with Gospel values. Our actions today, taken in faith, will help to ensure a hope-filled future for future generations.
Let us begin with the Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Wise and generous God, we look toward the future with hope, because we know that you, the timeless one, are already there waiting for us, inviting us to embrace your dreams for us. As we look eagerly toward the future you are preparing for us, help us to lay the foundations of that future here and now, with love, courage, and vision, using your gifts to faithfully build up the Kingdom of Jesus. We pray in his name, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Reading from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 4:6-9)
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
In today’s chosen scripture passage, we clearly hear that even though bad things may happen to us, we will rise up, persevere, and go from darkness to light. Even in a time where we are all isolated, and definitely feeling the loss of physical connection with the ‘outside world’, we are called as Catholics Christians to have faith and hope that all will be well again. It might not look like anything we have ever known before, but it will be life again. Hope lets God work on God’s timeline, not our own!
In the moment, as we are going through hardships and challenges, there can sometimes seem like there are few options or opportunities given to us. Only after coming through those hard times do we look back and see the hand of God working quietly in the narrative of our lives. When we were falling apart, God was putting it all back to together, even better than it was before. If we have hope, we can see little miracles. If we have hope, we can be open to seeing windows and doors instead of walls and spaces of confinement.
It is no co-incidence (the writer of this reflection calls it “God-incidence”) that this theme of “Igniting Hope” was chosen for Catholic Education Week long before Covid-19 was even around! We need hope now more than ever!
When we lose hope, we can lose everything! Never let go of hope!
We need to cling to the hope that justice and peace and compassion and love (all of which are echoed and still lived in Christ’s teachings) will prevail. The end result may be nothing like we expected or even could picture. These “I couldn’t imagine…” moments are just one of the many sides that shows hope is amazing. Hope shines light into the darkest of places and situations. Hope pulls us out of the quicksand of terminal thinking and the ‘no-option’ based approaches that limit our human minds. Hope fills our future days and nights with the opportunities to be better than we were yesterday! With this kind of eye-opening faith and hope, we can also see and hear the jail door of a bad circumstance begin to unlock and open. Hope lets us move from prisoner to freedom. Hope sets us free!
God, source of all that is, the past, the present, and the future are all held in your loving hands. Help us to be people of Christian hope as we move forward, builders of a world of justice, peace and compassion, according to Jesus’ teachings. In moments of fear, give us courage and confidence. In times of worry and uncertainty, remind us of your constant, unshakeable presence. Bless our future, Lord, and bless us who are the citizens of that future, for we pray in the name of the Risen One, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“In an age which seems more fearful of the future, we are directed to give an account of the hope that is within us.” This Moment of Promise, 1989