A reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah 33:14-16
The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot: he shall do what is right and just in the land. In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure: this is what they shall call her: " The Lord our justice."
The Word of the Lord
REFLECTION: The days are coming when I will fulfill the promise I made.
I have been reflecting on the theological virtue of hope.
A few weeks ago, we had the annual fundraiser talent show. It occurs every year as an open mic show for everybody. Anybody can take to the stage and share their gifts with us, be it music, song, dance or poetry.
Every year I invite two friends--a father in his sixties and his thirty-something year old son, Jeremy*. They are extremely gifted in music and always open to share their gifts.
This year, though, they had a surprise for us. Jeremy brought his two year old son to perform with him and his father.
I met Jeremy through a friend of mine who was dying of cancer. My friend was diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty eight. She spent the last two and half years of her life living with it in the most amazing faith filled serenity. Even while she was sick, she would continue her ministry to visit the sick and bring them Holy Communion.
When she became unwell, I witnessed the most incredible dedication and authentic love I have ever seen. Jeremy was there every time I visited her at the hospital. He transformed every aspect of his life toward her care. He had quit his job to nurse her full time. A few years before that, he had also watched his mother die from cancer.
This young man has been through some tremendous suffering and grief. It is safe to say that he will never be the same because of these experiences.
Jeremy continued to serve the church in all capacities through the tough times. After a number of years, he is now married to a wonderful woman and has two sons.
So as I watch Jeremy share his joy on stage with his son I cannot help but be inspired by the hope that this man must have carried through all the difficult years. He experienced the deaths of his mother and of his fiancee and was able to continue to be open to love and to new life. And because he had hoped, he did find happiness in new life, which is embodied in his son.!
Christian hope is abiding and transformative. It does not deny present reality but gears the struggling heart and soul to God who is the source and focus of all true hope. It allows us to respond to our personal sufferings with peace and trust in God's plan for our lives, which we may know nothing about at the time. Hope teaches us to be faithful in difficult and dark moments because we know that God is a God who keeps his promises.
His promise is for our salvation and our happiness. He has already fulfilled this in the Incarnation of his Son, Jesus Christ.
So let us ask God to give us true hope as we begin this season of Advent. Wherever we are today , may we be able to say: Lord, I trust in Your promise. Jesus I trust in You.
*name has been changed to be considerate of the family's privacy.