In the 2nd reading today St. Paul writes: “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe.” The dictionary defines hope as “a feeling that what is wanted will happen,” and those early disciples of Jesus hoped to be reunited with him in an eternal place of peace – heaven. We all hope for good things, long life and happiness. Right now we’re hoping for an end to this pandemic and a cure for COVID-19. While we don’t always get what we hope for, we must not despair. Christian hope is centered on the future and our eternal destiny. That was why it was so important that Jesus sent out witnesses. As we hear in today’s Gospel, Jesus approached and said to his disciples, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Throughout the year I often attend the funeral Masses of priests. I am always reminded of the honor to serve with others in priesthood and the challenge to live this radical call of discipleship. Priests remind me to be a witness of hope. In hope I look forward to seeing loved ones again in God’s heavenly kingdom, a hope centered on the fact that one day we will rise to new and eternal life. As Jesus rose and ascended into heaven, we are called in the here and now to rise and live in newness of life. We are able to do this because “Jesus is with us always, until the end of the age.” So, even in the unsettling times of today, be a witness of hope, of newness of life and of the reality that He is with us, always. Peace.