In a homily last year, Pope Francis said that hope is “much more than simple optimism for Christians. It is constant expectation, it’s a gift from the Holy Spirit, it’s a miracle of renewal that never lets us down.”
According to Francis, this hope is “the miracle of making everything new in my life, in your life, in our life. He builds and he rebuilds.”
The Holy Father is telling us that the gift of hope is organic. It’s always growing and always deepening. This hope is not just a human desire. It is a grace that God freely gives to us, a grace that opens the eyes of our hearts so that we can see his great love for us. Hope is knowing that God wants to build us and rebuild us until we are “filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).
We can see this grace at work in the Easter stories of Mary Magdalene, Thomas, Peter, and the disciples on the road to Emmaus. These stories show how God loves to go out of his way to open our eyes and to renew our hope in him. They tell us that our God will never let us down.
All of these disciples had their faith jarred when they saw Jesus die on the cross. They all needed to be “rebuilt.” And Jesus loved them so much that he couldn’t stay away! He simply had to reach out to them, open their eyes, and give them a little miracle that brought their faith back to life.
Heroes of Hope. We may not be blessed to have a physical encounter with Jesus as the first disciples did. But that doesn’t stop Jesus from going out of his way to help us. Remember his words to Thomas: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (John 20:29). These words give us great hope! Jesus wants to open the eyes of our hearts and reveal himself to us every day. He wants to be found! Even when we are facing difficult times, even when our faith is at a low point, he is standing right beside us, ready to fill us with his love.
This Easter season, we will celebrate the canonization of two men who had the eyes of their hearts opened. Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII were heroes of hope. Their constant goal was to yield to the Holy Spirit so that they might be built and rebuilt into the image of Christ.
I pray that their example will move us to give the Spirit the same freedom to build us and rebuild us as well. May God open our eyes and fill us with hope. May he give each of us an Easter miracle, just as he did for the first disciples!
Joe Difato, Publisher | Email the Publisher at [email protected]