There is Always Hope

This scene is not in the book (like a lot of the movie version of Two Towers). But it is pretty sweet.

cover…Did you know that when a man is ordained a bishop, two deacons hold the book of the Gospels open over his head?

Meanwhile, the ordaining prelate prays the consecratory prayer.

…Speaking of hope, here is today’s homily…

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two…He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” (Mark 6:7, 10-11)

The Lord Jesus sent the Apostles out to teach the human race about getting to heaven. The Apostles preached repentance and healed the sick. They were able to restore those who believed to moral and physical health.

This is what Christ came for—to heal our race and make it possible for us to become what we were meant to be. In our second reading, St. Paul put it like this:

Blessed be God who chose us in Christ to be holy and without blemish before Him…so that we might exist for the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:3-6)

God is perfectly good. He is perfectly full, immeasurably alive and vigorous. He lacks nothing, wants for nothing. He is altogether blessed.

He made us to be good, fulfilled, and blessed, too. He made us to know joy and peace. He made us to reach His glory, to share in His undying love forever.

billie-jean-jacksonOur First Parents, Adam and Eve, fell from grace when they were tempted by Satan. Therefore, we human beings are beset by weakness and evil as we make our way towards our goal.

But original sin has not changed the goal. Our goal is the same as it has always been, the same as it was when the Creator originally made us in paradise. Losing sight of our goal is the last thing we should ever do.

The Lord Jesus Christ has given us the hope of getting to heaven. Yes, misery and frustration come our way. This is an unkind world of sin, sickness, and death. But our hope for salvation is solid. Christ has overcome the evil of the world. He took it all on Himself. He endured it in order to free us from it.

He became weak and despised in order to strengthen and honor us. He suffered all the maladies of sin in order to heal us. He conquered Satan for us.

We can hope, therefore. We can hope for heaven. St. Paul told us:

In Christ you, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of salvation, and have believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the first installment of the inheritance towards redemption in God’s possession. (Ephesians 1:12-14)

Let us never take the holy hope of the Church for granted. The hope of Christ’s Church is the most magnificent thing on earth. I do not care how cool Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” video is. To hope for heaven is more magnificent, more beautiful.

As we read at the beginning of St. John’s gospel, the Word of God came to what was His own, and His own people rejected Him. The cynical, small-minded world declined Christ’s invitation to heaven. The world is too busy chasing after its petty, fleeting enthusiasms.

According to the contemporary tyranny of relativism, it is wrong to distinguish truth from error, wrong to distinguish divine religion from human paganism.

The problem is: If we do not distinguish the Word of God from the cacophony of human nonsense, then we will lose sight of our hope. We will lose sight of the final goal.

FeetOur hope is based on the absolute truth of the promises of Christ. Without faith in Christ’s infallibility, our horizons shrink; heaven disappears from view.

In this world of disappointment and confusion, let us hold on to our faith and hope with an iron grip.

In the Collect for today’s Mass, the Church prays for the grace to “reject what is contrary to the Gospel.” We have to do what the Lord told His Apostles to do: “Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet.”

It is our job to reach out, to share the Good News with everyone, especially unbelievers. But this does not mean getting sucked into the world’s hopelessness.

Do I find myself in a conversation in which Christian hope is being mocked as childish? Do I find myself among people who chuckle or sneer at the idea that Jesus Christ is the one true God, that the Pope of Rome governs the one true Church and teaches the true Gospel of life for all mankind? Is some supposedly “sophisticated” person trying to convince me that only red-necks and hill-billies believe what the Sacred Scriptures say? Am I in a place where the words truth, justice, virtue, and holiness are not used, except sarcastically?

If so, I am going to shake the dust off my feet and press on. We have a goal to reach.


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