As we begin a new year, it is important to remember that as Christians we are people of hope. Our hope is based on confidence in God and His faithfulness and faith in His promises. “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)
In his homily on the Solemnity of Mary this week, Pope Benedict XVI reminded us that “the Christian is a person of hope, even and especially in the face of the darkness that often exits in the world, not as a consequence of God’s plans but because of the wrong choices of man.”
It is tempting to ask why God permits tragedies like the mass killings experienced during the past year or the natural disasters that result in loss of life and leave many homeless. Tragedies like Newtown and the New York subway killings are the result of the incomprehensible actions of deranged individuals abusing the free will that can be both a blessing and curse. Hurricanes, tornadoes and the like are natural disasters, not acts of God.
Yet God’s love is manifested in the actions of the first responders and the thousands who reach out to the victims of such events. In the words of the Holy Father, “the Christian knows that the power of faith can move mountains, the Lord can brighten even the deepest darkness.”
It is indeed the love of Jesus that sustains us in faith, hope and love (1 Col 3:12,14). It is that love that in the words of Pope Benedict, “allows a constant renewal of goodness and of the ability to rise from the quicksand of sin and to begin anew.”
In this Year of Faith, let us remember that true hope is not found in the things of the world which are transitory, but only in our encounter with Jesus.