Pandemic, national upheaval, global unrest, protests, trends in national and world economies, health problems, racial discrimination and so on… One could go on with adding many other challenges and concerns the year 2021 faces. Are you overwhelmed and confused? I agree you have reason to be, but I submit to you that you should not be. You ask me: How can you say that? My reply: Hope.
What is the virtue of hope? At one of his weekly audiences Pope Francis spoke of hope: “As a gift of the Spirit, hope is both an anchor (cf. Heb. 6:18-19) giving us security amid the storms of life, and a ‘sail’ driving us forward towards the safe harbor of eternal life.”
Let as consider Our Lady, Mother of Hope. As a mother she had many reasons to hope for the well-being of her Son. Perhaps her greatest hope was at the foot of the cross when Jesus uttered, “Into your hands I commend my spirit.” How great must have been her hope for his resurrection.
Let us consider St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, who had many occasions to rely upon this anchor for security and safety because Mary and Jesus were grave responsibilities for him.
Pope Francis has dedicated this year, 2021, to St. Joseph. As we think about St. Joseph’s role in the lives of Jesus and Mary we find events that required great hope:
* Joseph was a dreamer. He had to hope that following the directives he received in his dreams were indeed God’s will for the Holy Family.
* He had to hope that he would be successful in doing so.
* How shocked and confused he must have been when Mary told him she was pregnant. Should he have her stoned to death according to the law? No, rather he followed the angel’s advice to take her as his wife. Again, he hoped that he was doing the right thing.
* As a husband and father he faced severe trials: No room in the inn; Jesus lost for three days; confusion upon hearing Simeon’s and Ann’s prophesies in the temple.
Mary is sure hope (Lumen Gentium). Joseph is creative hope; that is, he listened to the messages of his dreams and he acted with faith and hope. Both Mary and Joseph were hope-filled because of their love for Jesus who is hope.
As we live in this world with its challenges let us embrace Jesus and follow Mary and Joseph who in moments of difficulty and crises were able to look ahead and live daily lives with hope in the future.
You are the future generation who can respond to the present culture with prayer, faith and action. Dream your dreams for the future, and pray for the grace to know what is God’s will for you to act as inspired by the Holy Spirit. In you we have hope.
Sister Marie Lorraine Bruno, I.H.M., is professor emerita in the Department of Art, Languages and Literature at Immaculata University.
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