We are Never without Hope because We are Never without Christ

Ferverino for Holy Hour
Thursday, April 30, 2020 – 6:30 PM
Sacred Heart (live streamed holy hour during COVID-19)


Eucharist

Photo credit: Steven & Francois LeMire

It is good that we are here.

Lately – a lot of anxiety, fear, discouragement
• The unknown
o “when will it end?”
o Uncharted territory – “we’ve never experienced anything like this before”
• Isolation
• Grieving Losses
o Graduations, weddings, ordinations
o Unable to gather in community
o Missing family – parents, grandparents, grandchildren
o Eucharist/Masses
• Loss of control

Uncharted territory/new circumstances; but a familiar pattern:
1. Status quo: Things are good / OK
2. Trials: things are not so good
3. Heaven – things are good again, and even better

Scripture:
o Adam and Eve
1. Eden: Walking in the garden with God
 2. The Fall and the promise
 3. Heaven: Restored to Paradise (Christ’s descent to the dead)

o Noah
 1. Before the flood
 2. The Flood
 3. After the flood (be fruitful and multiply – the rainbow and the covenant)

o Abraham
 1. Has his own land
 2. Leave your land
 3. Promised Land

1. Promise of a Son; Promise of a great nation
 2. Asked to Sacrifice Isaac
 3. Isaac restored

o Jacob and sons
 1. Prosperity in the Promised Land
 2. Famine – go to Egypt
 3. Reunited with Joseph who is powerful in Egypt

o People of Israel
 1. Favor in Egypt – family of Joseph (esteem)
 2. Slavery in Egypt
 3. Led out of slavery by mighty deeds of God done at Moses’ hand
(led through the Red sea

 1. Egypt – at least they had food
 2. Desert – worry of starvation
 3. Promised Land

o Jesus and the disciples
 1. Preaching a way of life that brings true life; working miracles
 2. Suffering and Death
 3. Resurrection and glory

We’ve never been here before (COVID-19), and yet we have been here before (the familiar pattern).
1. Things were going well, or at least OK
2. COVID-19 hit – we are still in the midst of it.
3. What is to come? We say that we don’t know, and to some extent we don’t. But to another extent, we do. We do know what will come because we know the old familiar pattern. We know what God has done in the past, and we know that God is faithful.

What will keep us going?
What kept them going?

Hope.

Hope keeps us from discouragement.
Hope sustains us in times of abandonment.
Hope opens our heart to expect beatitude.

Hope is the virtue by which we desire the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help and grace of the Holy Spirit.

God is the One who restored Adam and Eve to the new Paradise.

God is the One who saved Noah from the flood.

God is the One who fulfilled the Promise to Abraham.

God is the One who gave Isaac back to Abraham.

God is the One who guided Joseph when he was sold into slavery in Egypt.

God is the One who guided the reunion of Joseph and his brothers.

God is the One who raised up Moses through whose hands mighty deeds were wrought in Egypt.

God is the One who, through Moses, led the people out of slavery in Egypt and into the freedom of the promised land.

And, brothers and sisters, it is God who will lead us through these times.

The Letter to the Hebrews says that “hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul which reaches into the interior behind the veil, where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner…” (Hebrews 6:19-20)

The old temple – 3 parts. Outer court, Inner court, Holy of Holies.

Holy of Holies
• Veil separating the inner court from the Holy of Holies
• Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments
• Where the presence of God dwelt in the midst of his people
• No one could enter, not even the priests
• Only the High Priest – one day/year, on the day of Atonement.
• Lev 16: “Tell…Aaron that he is not to come whenever he pleases into the sanctuary, inside the veil, in front of the [mercy seat] on the ark; otherwise, when I reveal myself…he will die”
• He would enter the Holy of Holies with the blood of a sacrifice, and sprinkle it on the Mercy Seat above the Ark that contained the Ten Commandments.
• In fear that he might be struck down, a rope is tied to foot of the High Priest so they can drag him out if is struck down. It was his anchor to this side of the veil.

Christ
• His death on the Cross

o The veil of the temple is torn in two from top to bottom. (MT 27:51). As Fulton Sheen points out, torn in two from top to bottom, not from bottom to top; because God is the one who tore open the veil. We could not do that.

• His Ascension

o His body pierces the veil of the Heavens. Christ the High Priest goes there where his body stands before the Father’s throne to intercede for us.
o Christ, the High Priest, has the rope tied to his foot as well, not so that we can pull him down to us, but so that he can pull us up to him.
o He is our anchor. And this is our hope. As long as we cling to him, we are never lost.

Listen again to the definition of hope from the Letter to the Hebrews:

Hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul which reaches into the interior behind the veil, where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner…(Hebrews 6:19-20)

Brothers and sisters, Christ is our hope.

We are reminded of this in Easter – the season of hope.

Christ is our anchor in the storm that rages around us. No matter where we may be blown, no matter where we may be tossed about by the winds and waves that pound us, we are never lost so long as we cling to him.

Hope looks to the future beyond the present moment.

For the sake of the joy that lay before him, Christ endured the cross. (Hebrews 12:12)

Remember what God has done in the past
so as to strengthen your hope in the present
of what God will do in the future.

Remember what God has done, not what we have done.
It is God who will see us through this storm, it is not all up to us.

We have our part to play, but it is God who works through us to bring us through this. It’s not all up to us, it’s up to God, and that is a great inspiration to hope. God has done it before and God will do it again!

Hope looks to the future, but it impacts the present.

Hope looks to the past and to the future to give us the strength to endure the present when the present is painful.

Hope is nourished in prayer. And so, tonight we come before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

Tonight we come before our High Priest who has passed beyond the veil of this valley of tears, and we hold on.

We hold on to the anchor that is Christ.
We hold on to our hope.

The Eucharist reminds us that we are never without hope, because we are never without Christ.

Jesus, we trust in you. Cast out all fear, anxiety, and discouragement. Strengthen our hope.

I leave you with a prayer by St. Teresa of Avila:

Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing frighten you.
All things pass away.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever possesses God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.

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