Homily for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Blessed is the one . . ., whose hope is the Lord (Jer. 17:7)
Praying the Rosary is popular among Catholics. However, not many faithful realized that at the beginning of this prayer, we ask through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, God increases in us three very important gifts: (After the Sign of the Cross, we go into the Creed and then recite three times the Hail Mary, one for the crease of Faith, other is for Hope, and then the final one is for Charity). Considering the message of Holy Scriptures on this 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, let us focus on one of these gifts: HOPE.
“Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the Kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying on not our own strength but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit (CCC no 1817). Please note that the Catechism of the Catholic Church called Hope, like Faith and Charity, is the theological virtue. God infuses this gift in us; and we are called to open our heart to this gift.
Our Responsorial Psalm declared that a person is blessed when this individual put all of the hope in the Lord: “Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked, nor walk in the way of the sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, but delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on the law of the Lord day and night” (Ps 1:1-2). The prophet Jerimiah expand on this in the First Reading: “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes; it leaves stay green in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit” (Jer. 17: 7-8)
Our hope is the Lord must be the slogan for our Christian living that is why the first beatitude in the Gospel Proclamation taken from Luke: “blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours” (Lk 6:20). Compare this beatitude with the Gospel of Mathew, we noted that Luke drops the qualification “in spirit.” This to draw our attention to one quality in the poor period: Since they cannot trust in human beings nor anything of this world, their only hope is the Lord. Those who are poor in this way, i.e., those who have hope in the Lord will inherit the kingdom of God. No wonder the Catechism says “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the Kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness”
It is in the Second Reading on this Sunday that St. Paul articulate to us the reason for those whose hope is the Lord are considered blessed. We should note that the last Sunday’s second reading, the Apostle begins with a creed in Jesus’s death and resurrection (1Cor 15: 3-11). In today’s reading, Paul begins addresses the real question: what difference is the death, and the resurrection of Jesus has on us? “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain. . . [and] we are the most pitiable people of all” (1Cor 15: 17-19). Stop and think about it, if Christ has not died and rose and promise us a share in his new life, then what a melancholy for being believers in the Lord. All must face death: some die young, some lived this earthly life to the full; some die with all material richness, some passed away in poverty. If all things end in dead, then what is a point of striving for perfection in this life. “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1Cor 15:20). This is a ground for hope for the humanity and especially for believers in Christ. Indeed, those whose hope is the Lord is blessed!
Therefore, we hear someone announce in the recitation of the Rosary, “for faith, hope, and love.” Please join in and ask that God through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to increase such precious gifts in each one of us destine us for the eternal glory! Amen.