"Faith is the realization of what is hoped for..."
What do you hope for?
In accordance with God's promise, Abraham hoped for a son. Eventually, he and Sarah had Isaac. Of course, they waited a long time. They waited so long that they were both well past childbearing and childrearing age when Isaac was conceived and then born. This often seems to be God's way.
One reason for my insistence that not only should hope never be confused with optimism but that hope kicks in when optimism runs out is my experience. It seems to be the case that very often what I work hard at remaining optimistic about never comes to pass. Sometimes it's a big thing and sometimes not. Sometimes it seems like a big thing but in retrospect, the magnitude of its importance diminishes. If the magnitude of importance does not diminish and it still doesn't seem to happen, then perhaps it becomes a hope. Making something a hope means to put it into God's hands, trusting God. Hope is trust, not wishing. This why faith is hope realized. Abraham and Sarah show us this quite clearly.
Something can only become a matter of hope when judged in the light of ultimate things and found deserving. I don't know about you, but I spend a lot of time worrying about and working for things that don't bear up under the light of the ultimate.
Our Gospel today is about ultimate things. What we are given is to be used appropriately. As out of style as such a belief may be, I believe there will be an ultimate accounting. I can't evade or avoid the fact that I have been given much. How much of what I have been given have I, in turn, given, put to good use, or at least kept in proper perspective?
As belief in anything beyond death fades, our perspectives change. The ephemeral can become the ultimate. As today's Gospel demonstrates, Jesus came to free us from our fascination with nothingness. While it is a horizon over which I cannot see, I don't believe death is the ultimate.
Fascination with nothingness, not religious faith, strikes me as the opiate of the masses now.
Faith poses a lot of questions, more questions than it answers. Maybe the most basic question is Does life have a transcendent meaning? Stated slightly less philosophically- Does your life have a meaning beyond itself? There are two equally silly answers to this question- This world is not my home/I'm justa passin' through/My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue and This world is my home/But I'm still just passin' through/Like everyone else I'll wind up buried in the goo. Worse yet, preserved, hermetically sealed and placed in the ground. These are not Christian eschatologies, that is, Christian views of human destiny.
In accordance with God's promise, what do you hope for?