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Sunday, July 17, 2005

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16th Sunday Ordinary Time

Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
Romans 8:26-27
Psalm 86
Matthew 13:24-43

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the savage temptation to hopelessness

"You gave Your sons good ground for hope." —Wisdom 12:19

Before we totally committed our lives to Jesus, we walked in the valley of hopelessness. Life in general seemed hopeless. To cope with this, we would retreat to what we thought were bastions of hope — our children, work, marriages, or a special activity. These rays of hope usually dimmed. So we tried to constantly distract ourselves or alter our consciousness to ignore the gnawing and sometimes savage hopelessness within us. When we saw someone hopeful, we were either cynical or wanted to ask him to defend his hope (1 Pt 3:15).

When we gave our lives to Jesus, we had "Christ in" us, our "hope of glory" (Col 1:27). We knew that God had planned for us "a future full of hope" (Jer 29:11). We also believed that this hope would not disappoint us (Rm 5:5). Nonetheless, we now have different types of temptation to give into hopelessness. For example, when we see weeds in the field of God's kingdom (see Mt 13:24ff), we, like Jesus, become nauseated at the lukewarmness of other Christians (see Rv 3:16). This can lead to discouragement and even hopelessness. Moreover, when we see that our work for God's kingdom has miniscule effects like the tiny mustard seed and slow, imperceptible effects like the work of leaven (see Mt 13:31-33), we are easily tempted to give up hope. But the Lord continues to fill us with hope. Therefore, "rejoice in hope, be patient under trial, persevere in prayer" (Rm 12:12).

Prayer:  Father, make my hope very noticeable. May I eagerly defend the reason for my hope (1 Pt 3:15).

Promise:  "The Spirit too helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings." —Rm 8:26

Praise:  Praise the risen Jesus, only Hope for the world!

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 20, 2004

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