CHOOSING HOPE IN TIMES
OF DARKNESS AND CHALLENGE
By Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine
shooting and killing of innocent people and critically injuring
many more in Colorado as well as the more recent killing in the Sikh
Temple in Oak Creek, WI., sent shock waves around the world and many
are asking the question “How do I choose hope in these dark and
challenging times?” There is no easy answer to this question but it
needs to be explored.
We can and
must believe that even in the darkest times, God’s hand will always
hold and support us. It calls us to believe that even behind the
darkest clouds, there is something more that will bring sunshine
into our lives. Hope is in the expecting and the waiting. We can
never give up even when there is no visible sign that things will be
better. Is. 43:2 tells us “When you pass through waters they will
not swallow you up. When you go through rivers, they will not sweep
over you” In the power of the Spirit, we are sent to reflect God’s
healing, mercy and hope and forgiveness to all that we meet.
tragic events in Colorado and Wisconin we heard many stories of
compassion when people were reaching out to those affected by the
tragedy, and helping them live through their pain and loss. People
gathered in many groups to pray for those who lost their loved ones
and also with the hope that people would not respond with revenge.
Some were discussing what they could do to replace the violence in
our communities with peace, justice, love and forgiveness. We can
all reflect on God’s plan for our own lives, our communities, nation
and world, and work with others to make God’s plan a reality in our
time and place. No matter what the challenges are, nothing is
impossible with the power and grace of God.
journey with Jesus, we all experience many life challenges. If we
focus only on the problems, the result is we will intensify the pain
and become engulfed in fear and doubt. Sometimes such events can
bring about transformation in our own lives and in our communities
and helps us to search for deeper meaning as we continue our life
journey. We are reminded of the Gospel story of Peter walking on
water to meet Jesus. When Peter looked down and saw only the waves,
he began to sink. When he kept his eyes on Jesus, he arrived safely
at his destination. Choosing hope is the only way to go and succeed.
Our hope is based on our faith in God, not a God somewhere up in the
clouds but a God who is described in Matthew’s Gospel as one who
says: “I am with you all days even to the end of the age.” This is
not an avoidance of the problems. It means we must ground our hope
on the reliable promises of Jesus who never fails us.
event challenge us to look at all the violence in our homes,
communities, nation and world, and do what we can to replace the
violence with peace, forgiveness and justice. Can we speak out about
all the wars we as a nation are involved in and find other ways to
address conflict and divisions. Complaining about the problems we
have inherited will accomplish nothing. We become stronger and more
compassionate when we live with hope. Often the darkest hour is
before the dawn. Some fearless leader in the past has said: “We are
as small as our fears and despair and as great as our courage and
may we be your partners in hope this day and every day.” No effort
is too small to make a difference.
Blessings on your preaching.