Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In what is your hope?

Beloved, let us remember today and always that Jesus Christ is our hope, not politics, not work, not even leisure. Why be sad? Lent means springtime! It may help to ask, What are your expectations? In what have you placed your hope? With the looming elections do you find yourself investing your hope in politics and politicians? If the joy of the Lord is our strength, how can we be saddened? The hallmark of being Christian is joy and our joy is rooted in our hope.

Stanley Hauerwas has written: "For some time - that is, in the time often identified as modern - Christian and non-Christian alike have thought that belief in God primarily depends on whether you think the world had a beginning: 'Something had to start it all.' God, therefore, becomes an explanation for why there is something rather than nothing. However, the god that must exist in order to show that what exists had a beginning too often, due to our fantasies, is not a god who comes to us in Jesus Christ. It is a Christian conviction, a conviction shaped by the grammar of the first verse of the gospel of Matthew, that we can know there was a beginning, because we have seen the end in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ" (Matthew 23). If, indeed, God is love, then love is the reason there is something instead of nothing. This is important because it gets us away from the reason Hauerwas is criticizing: necessity. It is not necessary that we exist, it is gratuitous, it is gift, it is free; to answer Hamlet it is better to be than not be! I do not believe that it is too much to say that this is also why nature abhors a vacuum.

If even the hairs of our head are numbered, then how much more does the Lord look out for the destiny of nations, bringing to pass His purpose, bringing hope from despair and even life from death? Our lovely God accomplishes his purposes in such creative and unexpected ways, like becoming incarnate as a Jewish peasant! So, if you find yourself sad it helps to ask the question Jesus asked some of his first disciples, "What are you looking for?" (Jn 1,38)

"Eschatology indicates that the world, including ourselves, is storied" (23). For more on hope see Spe Salvi.

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