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SUNDAY SCRIPTURES FOR MAY 14 | Hope springs eternal to those who believe in God’s promises

Are we prepared to share the reasons for our hope with others?

The Scripture for the 6th Sunday of Easter reminds us that, if anyone asks, we should be ready to share the reason we have hope. Maybe this part of the Easter season is our opportunity to make sure that we have our reasons for hope at the ready for when others ask.

But why would anyone ask us about a reason for hope if they don’t experience us as hopeful? Why would anyone turn to us if the life that we’re living is not attractive at all? Why in the world would anyone want to be part of our communities, if we are constantly battling with one another or giving an image of cynicism or negativity?

Hope springs eternal to those who believe in the promises of God, even if they have not been fulfilled yet. Hope is partially based on experience of God’s faithfulness. Hope springs from a sense that what has been true in the past about God is true about Him in the present and will be true in the future. Do you have reason to hope? Has God been faithful to you and His promises to you?

If it is difficult to have hope right now, listen to the words of the Gospel this weekend. God promises not to leave us orphaned. God promises us through Jesus that we will be one with Him forever and that He will love us and reveal Himself to us. It might be a worthy dedication of our time this week to account for the ways that God is revealed to us. We miss many of those revelations because we believe that we are entitled to certain things and they have nothing to do with the graciousness and faithfulness of God. The fact that we live in such an opulent culture and live beyond our needs and into our wants can lead us to a callousness that makes it difficult to see the manifestation of God in our lives.

When you are hungry, do you have something to eat? When you are thirsty, do you have something to drink? Have you ever wanted clothing to cover your nakedness? Have you ever been totally isolated in the world with no connections at all? Having enough for our needs is a gift given to each of us every single day. We don’t always have everything we want but we certainly have a lot of what we want. Most of us live way beyond our needs and even begin to believe that we are entitled to all of that. Entitlement naturally leads to a lack of gratitude. A lack of gratitude numbs us to recognizing the revelation of God in our midst.

If we were to spend some time trying to figure out who is the most cynical or negative person we know, would we be able to pinpoint that person? Could it be ourselves? Could it be a family member? Could it be a fellow church member? Whoever it is, that person is led to cynicism and negativity because they have lost their ability to be grateful. Can we use our imaginations to treat those negative and cynical people in our lives with such unconditional love that they might be drawn to the way that we live? If we are that cynical and negative person, can we identify what has numbed our minds and hearts to gratitude? Broken dreams and smashed expectations can cause us to lose heart. Imagine what might’ve happened to another person that caused them to be so negative. That person doesn’t need isolation. That person needs love. We need love and community, especially at those moments when we are losing hope. Be ready to give your reason for hope.

Father Donald Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.

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