Whether we have hope or whether we don’t is a matter for each of us to consider. So we must ask, what is our hope rooted in? Rooting ourselves and rooting our hope in Jesus, likewise means rooting ourselves to his Cross, confident in the grace, the new life, the resurrection, that springs from it.
Some of us remember a Church in the western world that didn’t seem to be on the ropes. That wasn’t just an idea. That was a lived experience. Just like the apostles remembered the wedding feast at Cana, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, and the sermon on the Mount. They lived that. And as Jesus underwent His passion, and as we experience a declining Church in the western world, did that hope, and does our hope disappear?
As Christians, we are well experienced with small deaths and resurrections lived out in our lives. We recall the cross and resurrection of Jesus often. We celebrate what we recall right here at mass. And we live it in our lives, both embracing the crosses that come our way, and experiencing the new life that Christ brings. But sometimes when the cross is very heavy, we can lose heart. And will want to either check out, or fight to keep things the same as they always were. Our challenge as a parish is to not do either of those things, but instead, as Saint John Paul II challenged us, to “commit all of the Church’s energies to a New Evangelization” (Redemptoris Missio, 3). Or as Pope Francis has more recently challenged us, to re-evaluate our “times and schedules, languages and structures, [to] be suitably channelled for the evangelization of today’s world” (Evangelii Gaudium, 27).