SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT - DEC. 6, 1964
As God speaks to us today in the selections from Sacred Scripture, we find, as we always find, a multiplicity of lessons for all of us. I shall take one.
St. Paul tells us: "Whatever things have been written, have been written for our instruction, that through the patience and through the comfort of the Scriptures we may have hope." I wonder how many times the Apostle of the Gentiles used the word "hope" in his letters? He uses it so often that I think we can call him the Apostle of hope. Hope is a forgotten word in this turbulent world.
There are three great Theological Virtues - Faith, Hope and Charity. They connect the soul immediately with God, not to things. Faith believes in God. Hope hopes in God. Charity loves God and all that God loves. These Virtues unite the soul immediately to God.
You know the act of hope: Oh my God, relying on Thy infinite goodness and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.
Hope means simply having a real trust in God. Our hope must be living, of course, and our hope is a living hope if we possess God's grace. When we have a living hope, it means that we trust our Heavenly Father as a little child trusts his earthly father and mother. You know how a child holds out his little hand and knows that all is well when it is safely enclosed in the big and powerful hand of his father. So should it be between ourselves and our Heavenly Father.
Of all people in the world, those who sincerely believe in God have reason to be joyful. Why? Because they have hope and trust in God. The person who has hope knows that regardless of how much blundering and stumbling and mistakes are made in this life, all will be well because he hopes. The hopeful person knows that God will bring all things, finally, to a happy conclusion.
Surely we have reason to hope because Christ, our Lord, has resolved all of our serious doubts. Our Lord has given the answer to the great questions: What am I? Whence do I come? Whither am I going? I know that God created me a little lower than the angels; that He made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this life and to be happy with Him forever in heaven. The person who knows this - and even a little child can know and understand this - the person who knows this, knows the secret of life.
The season of Advent is a season of hope. The People of God in ancient times looked forward with hope to the expected Messiah. We, the People of God today, look back with hope to the Babe of Bethlehem. And Advent is not only a season of preparation for the first coming of Christ which we keep each year, but it is also a season of preparation for the second coming of Christ at the end of the world.
Let us always hope - let us never despair. How well does the Psalmist say in the 42nd Psalm of David: "Hope thou in God."