Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

After many years or many decades of Christian living, you have heard so much preaching and read so many religious texts that certain key facets of Christian life recede from your active awareness.  You start taking things for granted.  Of course, God loves us.  Of course, God sent his only son to save us.  And so on.

A sort of weariness arises that covers over and cools off your devotion.  In this context, look closely at what it is that you hope for.  Do you hope for anything different from atheists, agnostics, or pagans?  Consider a typical young person about to graduate from school and begin a professional career.  This person will typically hope for professional success, a comfortably pleasant lifestyle, good friends and a good family.  And you, O Christian!  Christ died for you so that you might receive, by his grace, among other things, the supernatural virtue of hope.  Is that just an intellectual concept for you?  Or do you feel a hope that is somehow stronger or different than the hopes of a typical young person?

If you don’t, then consider the prophecy Jeremiah makes in his 31st chapter.  “Thus says the LORD… Behold, I will bring [my people] back from the land of the north; I will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst, the mothers and those with child; they shall return in an immense throng.  They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them…”

There is a sense in which this prophecy was fulfilled when God ended the Babylonian captivity.  There is another sense in which this prophecy was fulfilled when Christ dwelt among us and sacrificed himself for us.  Finally, there is also a sense in which this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, but one day, we know, it will be.  Do you hope to see that day?

October 25th, 2015