The Power of HOPE
The Ascension of the Lord – Year C
After Jesus ascended into Heaven, the Apostles returned to Jerusalem with great joy. Strikingly, the Apostles were not sad after Jesus seemingly left them. The Apostles’ joy flowed from their hope—hope that they would receive the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised, and hope that they would one day be united with Jesus in Heaven.
During a general audience that took place on November 11, 1998, Pope John Paul II said the following about hope:
The Church’s teaching sees hope as one of the three theological virtues, poured out by God into the hearts of believers through the Holy Spirit. It is that virtue “by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit” (CCC, n. 1817). To the gift of hope “special attention should be given… especially in our day in which many people, including quite a few Christians, are floundering in the illusion and myth of an unlimited capacity for self-redemption and self-fulfillment and the temptation to pessimism from the experience of frequent disappointment and defeat” (General Audience, July 3, 1991). Many dangers seem to loom over the future of humanity, many uncertainties weigh on man’s personal destiny and he frequently feels incapable of dealing with them. In addition, the crisis of the meaning of life and the enigma of pain and death keep knocking relentlessly at the door of our contemporaries’ hearts. The message of hope which comes from Jesus Christ brightens this horizon darkened by uncertainty and pessimism. Hope sustains and protects us in the good fight of faith (cf. Rom 12:12). It is nourished by prayer, and most particularly by the “Our Father”, “the summary of everything that hope leads us to desire” (CCC, n. 1820).
As Catholic Christians living in the world today, we can all say that the horizon has become darkened by all of the negative events occurring throughout the world. We need the hope of Christ more than ever to illumine the darkness of our time and help us persevere to the end. I would like to invite you to consider praying the Our Father each day, asking the Lord to increase in you the virtue of hope and the gift of His Holy Spirit. In this way, even in the face of the greatest darkness, you can be sure that Christ has won the victory for us, that you are not alone, and that Heaven awaits those who remain steadfast in true Christian faith and love.
Yours in Christ,
Readings for The Ascension of the Lord: Lectionary 58Tags: #arthurmarat, #ascension, #frarthurmarat, #olwparish, #reflection