Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 14, 2023 •
Without faith you cannot believe. Without faith you cannot hope. There is no hope without faith and belief: in Christ, in what He has done for us, in the gifts He has given us.
Without faith and hope, you can't love. You'll be so filled with anxieties and stresses and the problems of the world.
It is precisely faith and hope that empower Christian love to manifest in the world.
As St Peter says in our second reading today: Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.
What does he mean by this? He mans that we who are filled with God, with the Holy Spirit, should stand out from the rest of society to such a degree that people will approach us and say, "Hey, you're a little different, what's going on? Where is this hope coming from?" Some might walk away, but some will be curious. They'll think: "I want what you have. Where did you get it? How can I get it too?"
You need to be prepared to explain to them where this hope comes from.
Yet many Christians don't have hope. How is that possible? Why aren't you constantly, at least by your life, testifying to this hope? You look around; friends, family, coworkers, where ever you happen to be; you look around and there isn't much hope. This is a problem. Hope is an essential Christian virtue. . . . why doesn't it shine out in the world?
This world is in darkness compared to what we are offered as disciples of the Lord. Yet it doesn't seem to contrast that greatly when we are out amongst others in society.
Yes, we have hope in Christ. But we don't have enough hope in Christ. Not yet. . . .
The test to know whether all of your hope is in Christ, or only some of it, is: can you ever lose hope?
Everything will fail you in this world at some point. Everything. Your gifts, attributes, possessions, skills, relationships. Everything will fail you in this world at some point. If your hope in in those people, those relationships, or those things, when it fails, you will lose it. You'll lose hope.
But if my hope is in Christ, nothing effects that hope. If God is actually living in me, in reality living in me, then how can any of these worldly problems affect me? . . .
The moment hope is lost, you begin to doubt faith. . . . the reason you lose hope when you fall back into sin - even after leaving the confessional is this: your hope wasn't in Christ, it was in you.
If your hope is in Jesus Christ you can't lose it. No one can take that from you. No one.
If my hope is solidly rooted in Christ, His love for me, and His Church and her Sacraments, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, then the loss of anything in this world cannot take that hope from me. And that hope will manifest anytime someone sees me. It'll be even stronger light in the darkness when they know you are suffering. When something tragic or bad is happening, and you still have a smile on your face. . . . Peter tells us all: Be ready to give an explanation for this hope.
Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; Ps 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20; 1 Pt 3:15-18; Jn 14:15-21
Homily begins at 20:56