ANYONE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER IN HEAVEN, HE IS MY BROTHER AND SISTER AND MOTHER. Hope is one of the most modest of the virtues. Rarely does she come to the fore and declare her presence or assert her rights publicly. Like some of the other more basic and modest elements essential for human happiness, such as water and pure air, hope generally draws attention to herself only when she threatens to withdraw from us. Then we sense how essential she is for our human happiness. Our least act is dependent upon the motor force supplied by some form of this virtue. Hope of enjoyment, of success, of recognition, of the fulfillment of some desire, these and other hopes supply the motivation for the efforts and strivings required for human living of any quality. Hope is such a hidden and modest creature she is difficult to observe most of the time. We come to understand her best by observing the results of her absence in someone prey to despair or languishing under severe depression. Without hope the most enticing food seems tasteless, the finest clothes are but a bother to put on, the very act of getting out of bed to go forth and meet the world seems futile and over- burdening. "Hope", says Peguy, "is a little girl who rises in the morning and greets us with Good day'!"
Today's Gospel, brief as it is, is a word of the Lord Jesus that is calculated to fill our spirit with hope and with hope' little child, joy. In these few lines Jesus places within our reach the key to human fulfillment, and so offers us the reasonable hope of attaining to the supreme goal of our existence. To carry out the will of the Father is to become a member of the very household of God. Here is the way to life, for to do His will is to become a brother to Christ; even more, it is to give him birth in our soul and so to be made, as it were his mother.
You may be a rather weak human being, undistinguished by any special gift of mind or body. You may be a poor person without influence and a sinner besides, but if you turn from your sin and devote yourself to carrying out the Father's will, you are capable of achieving the most distinguished of all attainments, that of being accepted as an intimate of the Lord of glory, Jesus the Word of God. This is the hope that Jesus' words set before us today. United with him we enjoy God's favor. In Jesus we possess "the hope of glory", the glory of communing with the majestic beauty of the eternal Father in the Holy Spirit.
With gratitude to our Savior for his words of hope, let us offer this Eucharist today to the Father with confidence that He will enable us to prove worthy of this teaching by lives of fidelity to our vows, dedicated to creating a fraternal community to obedience to His word. This sacrament of the body and blood of our risen, glorified Savior is offered to us here precisely as a pledge that God is with us and gives His Spirit to us and accompanies us as we seek in all our strivings to obey His will from the heart so as to be joined to Him in the joy of the children of God.
Abbot John Eudes Bamberger
© Abbey of the Genesee
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