Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday in Lent 3

Romans 5:1-11
v. 5 Hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

"Hope" is not a word we normally associate with Lent, but if you think about it, it better be. If Lent is about self-examination, an honest look at our lives that reveals the totality of our humanity, then "hope" had better be our watchword. Otherwise we'll get mired in our sin, our limitations, and our suffering. We'll get stuck there, which is decidedly not the goal of Lent.

Hope, of course, for the Christian, springs from Easter. The resurrection reveals the future God intends for us, a future where, among other things, God will wipe away every tear from our eyes (an image from the prophet Isaiah and the Book of Revelation). As Paul will say later in Romans, it is a future that cannot be taken away from us because "nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (8:39).

Hope, like faith, is a gift. Paul identifies it as a gift of the Holy Spirit, who herself was the gift we received at our Baptism: "You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ's own for ever."

When I'm having a bad day, hope can seem elusive at best, and far away, at worst. It helps me to think of those who pray for me and the hope that I know they have. As is true with faith, hope is something we best have together. When we gather around the Altar together is when hope shines most clearly for us--we get a glimpse of that promised future.

May hope be yours today and always.

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