What gives you hope?

November 24, 2022 – Thursday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/112422.cfm)

It’s gloomy and depressing, filled with death and destruction. Chaos is overwhelming and seems to be there is nowhere to go but a horrifying end. These are the images that we could imagine as the Book of Revelations and the Gospel of Luke describe today the end of time, the time of punishment and wrathful judgment, a time of horror and deadly calamities.

John, in his visions, foretold the end of a great ancient nations of Babylon, who indeed, was once the superpower of the world. Babylon conquered many nations and peoples, plundered and exhausted their wealth. However, Babylon will end. It will be destroyed. Luke spoke as well of the end and destruction of Jerusalem, a great city, whose temple was adorned with gold and precious stones. The city will also be destroyed and its people will be scattered. Indeed, these happened and what history tells us. Babylon is nowhere to be found again. Jerusalem and its temple was destroyed. And those Christians during the time of Luke, witnessed this. With these images of death and punishments, horror and chaos, where shall we draw courage to hold on to faith? What shall give us hope, then?

Though John and Luke began with those terrifying events and scenarios yet, both also gave a glimpse of hope and salvation. John, in his vision again said, “Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” This is the prayer that the priest pronounces as we are about the receive the Body of Christ in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The Lord destroys evil and all those that corrupts life, yet, God through Christ, welcomes us into his presence. This is salvation!

Luke, further, reminds us in the Gospel, “stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” Again, the Lord shall judge and bring to an end what is evil and all those who rejected God and claimed to be god. The Lord shall come to rescue His people and bring them to safety and peace. This is hope!

Indeed, as the readings today seemed to be dark and terrifying, yet, the Lord gives us hope that the end is something not to be afraid of. The Lord in his faithfulness remains for us and with us.

This is the spirit that St. Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions showed us, whose memorial we also celebrate today. This Vietnamese priest and all those who together with him never gave up that hope to be taken away from them. Even in the midst of evil, persecution and death, they remained steadfast in their faith because they truly believed in God’s faithfulness.

Let this give us courage. Let this inspire in us, hope. Even when we are facing so much difficulties in our life, in our relationships and in reaching out our dreams in life, may we find comfort in the presence of God who abides in us. When we are persecuted, hated and misunderstood, may we find courage and hope in the Lord who promised not leave us alone. Kabay pa.

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