Father Eugene Hemrick

In 1969, singer Peggy Lee came out with the song, “Is That All There Is?” In it she reflects on major events in her life, and after each one sings, “Is that all there is?” leaving us with the feeling that life can sometimes feel empty.

Life can seem senseless when you hear of millions of people displaced by war, innocent children being slaughtered, corruption everywhere, widespread violation of human rights or when experiencing the death of loved ones.

How do we cope in the midst of hopelessness?

When we read about John the Baptist imprisoned in a dark dungeon, we get the impression that he is wondering, “Is this all there is to life? Is this the way it is supposed to end after all my efforts?”

In his moments of doubt, he asks his companions to go to Christ to learn if he is the promised Messiah. He receives his answer in the form of a man serving the poor and doing works of mercy. Christ, the Messiah, is God showing us how to live a fruitful, hope-filled life.

It is easy to become doubtful and feel helpless under the weight of all that is horrendous around us, to get down on life, to wish we were never born. But we are born, and not only born but for a purpose.

We may not be able to stop wars in Syria, Africa and Afghanistan or quiet the riots in places such as Ukraine, Egypt or Thailand. But we can live the beatitude, “blessed are the peacemakers,” by generating peace in our homes, workplaces and neighborhoods.

We may not be able to minister personally to the millions displaced by war, but we can support them with needed supplies. We may not be able to stop the world’s corruption, but we can practice utmost honesty in daily affairs.

We may not be able to rebuild homes destroyed by tornados or hurricanes, but we can help those who are experiencing loneliness feel at home.

Disillusionment and despair create paralysis. A loving heart in action filled with caring and compassion can generate hope.

As Christ got out among the people in order to serve them, so, too, must we in 2014 do the same. This is what we were born to do: to be bringers of hope, demonstrating that life is not empty but full of goodness.