Bringing the Hope of Jesus
With the Church’s celebration of Pentecost behind us now, as faithful Christians, we are all called to reflect on the mission that was given to the Apostles, for we, too, are commissioned now to go out into the world. Just as Jesus sent into the world by the Father, he is now sending us into the world. And, like Jesus, the Holy Spirit is with us in all of our endeavors. The Spirit is our guide, our comforter, our encourager, and our teacher, who inspires us with both the love of God and with the truth of God’s Word. Jesus is the Word of God, and Jesus is the hope of all the earth. It is this hope that God wishes us to bring to the world in our everyday lives.
We are commissioned, as Christians, to bring the hope of Jesus to those who have not seen or heard of him, and to offer that hope again to those who have fallen away from him. It is natural for human beings to hope. In hope there is a recognition that no matter how bad the present may be, there is a future that can be better. It is a desire for some good that has not yet come. Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans: ʺNow hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.ʺ (Romans 8:22-25) With this hope that is ours now in the Holy Spirit, we can endure until the end. Why? Because of the Resurrection we can truthfully hope for what we do not yet see. 0ur hope is rooted in our faith that death has been conquered by Life.
It is with this hope, inspired by the Holy Spirit now, that we are commissioned, like John the Baptist, ʺto go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.ʺ (Luke 1: 76-77) In our faith and hope as Christians, we believe that God’s deepest desire is for us to go out the whole world, knowing that he loves the whole world, all of his children, just as much as he loves us individually. The success of our efforts will come from both our willingness to see others as Jesus sees them, and from the Spirit’s graceful encouragement.
A 20th century woman of great faith, Gabrielle Bossis, wrote: ʺIt is important to seek [Christ’s] face not only in other people but in every circumstance and to respond to him joyfully and with love.ʺ She tells us that Jesus is saying to us each day, ʺYou were touched when you read that I was in the Gospels, hidden in the sacrament of the Word. But how much more I am present in the sacrament of human life.ʺ When we believe this; when we actually begin to see Jesus in the faces of all we meet, even the faces of the wounded, the forgotten, the ugly and the lost, that is when the Spirit will make all that we hope for in the Word of God real and effective in our own personal lives and in our mission to bring that Word into the world. Gabrielle Bossis tells us in her writings that Jesus is always saying to us, ʺHunt for me everywhere! I’ll let myself be captured with such joy! And when you have found me, give me to others. There are people I am waiting to reach only through you!ʺ **
Let us pray with confident hope that our own hearts will be so ‘captured’ by the Word that we will be able to go out into our daily worlds joyfully letting Jesus meet others through us. When this happens we will know the Peace that Jesus gives to his true disciples. Amen.
** The Gabrielle Bossis quotes are taken from ʺGive Us This Day,ʺ by Liturgical Press