Chris growing hope with his companions.
Hope in the Incarnation
Chris Morgan, CVV 17
Where do you find hope these days?
In overthrowing the other political party in the next election?
In supporting your local economy?
In effective law enforcement?
In nations around the world making an ambitious agreement in relation to climate change?
In your own ability to work hard to achieve your goals?
In your retirement account?
In your church as an institution?
In a belief that these are the “last days?”
In packing your schedule with things that seem productive?
In staying out of the fray?
Maybe these aren’t the places that inspire hope in you, but they are for many people. For you is it…
In your routines that help life go more smooth?
In the people you see taking courageous stands?
In a miraculous healing?
In the mission of CVV?
In Our Lady of Guadalupe?
In your own conversion story?
In a relationship?
In your child?
By now, you might be thinking that there are many
stories that give you hope, but I really wonder what you’d say if
your uncle or
your neighbor or
your coworker asked you,
“How can you seriously say you have hope when you see what’s going on in the world these days?”
As it turns out, this seemed to be a pretty important question for the author of First Peter.
“Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone
who asks you for a reason for your hope…”
(NABRE 1 Peter 3:15b)
Whereas the audiences of this letter may have been suffering in ways you don’t, I wonder how it might change your life experience this year to come up with an explanation for your hope. I’m talking about your ultimate hope, the one that gives ultimate purpose and meaning to your life. One option you might consider: How about God becoming human?
It’s a wonder Mary survived childbirth, let alone that she conceived by God’s will. So here’s God’s plan for salvation after the fall: Choose a single young woman of simple heritage to bear her and God’s child. Support her through running through wilderness for fear of her life and the life of her child. Have the child raised as an everyday tradesman grow into a teacher of that community’s faith. He gathers a small following, gets killed, and rises from the dead.
This story inspires people for millennia. This is the story of God’s success in restoring all creation into right relationship with God. I believe this is the ultimate Christian hope. That God’s Word will be the last word, that chaos will not prevail. This is a story about God’s will being done, that even what seems like the final enemy, death, cannot thwart it.
That’s what gives me hope. It’s not some human campaign for the next brightest idea. What gives me hope is that God, the creator of all that is, wants all creation to be made one, to return to that original union. This is not my work, or your work, or the Church’s work. This is God’s work (which one may or may not cooperate with at various points), and no matter how much we can be implicated in falling short, it remains God’s will.
And it’s done. When God became flesh and dwelt among us, this ultimate hope was made real for all of creation. God was no longer separate or apart from God’s creation. In that moment, all of creation, you included, became one with God. I can’t emphasize it enough that this is God’s work. It’s true we have free will, but God never stops giving us reason to hope. My hope rests on my faith that God’s Word will be the last word and that it’s not finally up to me to get it right or mess it up. I’m called to do the best I can with what I have.
It can be hard to see, to imagine God’s Beloved Community in these times, so what gives you hope?