Saturday, November 12, 2016

Our Salvation Comes From Hope

Pope Francis made a point in a recent homily that is worth remembering as we try to discern our priorities. Our salvation is not gained through external spectacles. It is not found in following the latest trend, being among the 'in' crowd or on the latest winning team, or going from one superficial distraction to another. He uses the image of 'fireworks,' but we could just as easily speak about making money, winning the argument, becoming a celebrity, or gaining power.

As Christians we do not place our hope in these things. Nor do we lose our hope when our earthly expectations are not realized, when we have to deal with fears or dangers, nor (above all) when we face the apparently uninteresting and unexciting moments of almost all of our days.

This is not to deny the range of our human joys and sorrows, but to put them in perspective, and to remember that we attain the fulfillment for which we were created by patience, endurance, and perseverance on the road toward God, the road of hope.

"The Kingdom of God is not a 'show' religion: one that is always seeking new things, revelations, messages. God spoke through Jesus Christ: this is the last Word of God. The ['show' religion] is like fireworks that lit you up for a moment and then what is left behind? Nothing. There is no growth, there is no light, there’s nothing: just an instant. And we have been tempted many times by this 'entertainment religion' of seeking things that are extraneous to revelation, to the meekness of the Kingdom of God that is among us and which grows. For this is not about hope, this is about the desire to have something in our hands. Our salvation comes from hope, the hope of a man who sows the seed or the woman who makes the bread, mixing yeast and flour: a hope that grows. Instead, this artificial brightness only lasts an instant and then it dies away, like fireworks: they are not needed for giving light to a house. It’s just a show" (Pope Francis, Homily of November 10, 2016).