What to hope for?

Reflection on the readings for the First Sunday of Advent by Fr Arnold Biago SVD

Hope is to anticipate a value to come. Someone hopes for a fulfillment of a promise like a gift from parents, home visits by children living in far places or a weeding. Also, when someone hopes for a realization of lifetime desire such a to travel of a foreign country, finish a degree, or to win in a sports competition.

The readings of the First Sunday of Advent indicate what Christians hope for. Isaiah calls it the New Jerusalem. The prophet provides a beautiful description of this vision:

They shall beat their swords into plowshares
   and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
   nor shall they train for war again.
(Isaiah 2,4)

The Apostle Paul gives it a name of salvation. In his letter to the Romans , he writes:

For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
   the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
(Romans 13,11)

The Gospel according to Matthew would refer to it as the coming of the Son of Man. So the Gospel today gives this advice,

So too, you also must be prepared,
   for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
(Matthew 24,44)

All these different descriptions introduce us the person of Jesus, our Lord whom we all hope for, as the Christ.

Hope is easy when I am not faced with challenges and difficulties in life, or when I am not burdened with big problems. But will I have hope when I am in a desperate and terrible situation?

A destructive earthquake hit Haiti in 2010. Evans Monsignoc, a market vendor found himself trapped under the rubbles of the collapsed market building . First day, he heard screams and cry for help around him. He lost consciousness and woke up sorrounded by great silence, odor of decay and great darkness. He was afraid, terrified, hungry and sick for 27 days.

How did he survived while others did not? Evans recalled, “Everytime I came out of consciousness, I prayed that God would rescue me and give me life…” Evans survived because of the hope anchored to God even in that agonizing situation. In difficult moments, hope is fortified by faith.

It is true because we have a God who is greater than our problems, and we have our Lord Jesus who is bigger than our difficulties and pains.

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