From Our Pastors
Excerpts from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah were some of the readings at mass this past week. There was an uncanny resemblance to our own day. Jerimiah also lived in uncertain times. He saw the last years of the kingdom of Judah, the destruction of Jerusalem and exile of much of the population in Babylon (587/586BC). His pleas to God from captivity help give voice to our prayers. We too are asking God for deliverance, mercy and a return to peace when the reality before our eyes is far less than ideal.
Exile did not destroy the people of Judah, as was the intent of their captors, but rather forced them to concentrate on the essentials of faith, community and worship. Religious practice was simplified, even domesticated with the movement from priestly temple worship to the home, ultimately giving rise to the synagogue practices still common among our Jewish sisters and brothers.
Please God we will return to some version of normality in the not too distant future, but it would be a lost opportunity to let these days of exile and captivity slide by without mining their riches. St Paul in the First letter to the Corinthians reminds us that faith, hope and love are the greatest virtues. The Christian virtue of hope arguably receives the least attention. But in these times hope is perhaps the most valuable and necessary.
Hope in difficult times is not only the hallmark of people of faith it is the key to flourishing in the midst of uncertainty. Hope is not a passive waiting out of trouble but an active pursuit of what is good, true and beautiful despite the darkness.
Saint Paul puts it this way in the same letter to the Corinthians: “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.” (I Co 13:12)
A recently deceased brother put it this way: “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” — John Lewis. May he rest in peace.
Fr. Mark Lane, C.O. and Fr. Michael Callaghan, C.O.