How do we find hope in these hard times, and how does the Church, standing shoulder to shoulder with her faithful, continue to be a sign of hope in these times of crisis?
How do the retrenched employees of Petrotrin and TSTT instil hope in their families in these uncertain times? How do residents of Greenvale, St Helena and Barrackpore find hope as they struggle to rebuild the broken pieces of their flooded homes and regain peace of mind? How do we as Catholics find hope and continue to trust at a time when our Church is being buffeted by the storms of clerical impropriety?
The answer to these and many more burning questions lies in Jesus’ admonition to us in today’s Gospel, to “Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.”
Amidst the growing cries for political and parliamentary maturity, the demands for greater attention to the plight of our elderly and youth, and a murder toll that threatens to surpass the 2017 figure, it is easy for us to lose hope, throw hands in the air and declare Trinbago a failed state.
As Catholic Christians though, called to be light and yeast, we must demonstrate the difference between faith and fatalism. Rather than apathy and resignation, our faith in the Resurrection must lead us to hopeful willingness, while our trust in God allows us to live with active expectation rather than cynicism.
Our faith, then, must create in us a new willingness to let God’s will be done, in and through our lives, and in and through our Church. It is that expectation that causes us to cry out “Come Lord Jesus!”.
This season of Advent which the Church enters today must be our antidote against the sense of despair and fatalism that often accompanies our periods of waiting. Our disposition during this period of waiting in joyful hope for Jesus’ coming, must be a clear sign for everyone that even as we accept that all is not well, we also admit that all is not lost, and we do not forget how our lives can ultimately join God’s larger dance of life and hope.
The paradox of expectancy is that those who believe in tomorrow can live better today; those who expect joy to come out of sadness can discover the beginnings of a new life amid the old; and those who look forward to Jesus’ return can discover Him already in their midst.
As we wait patiently for His return then, this is an opportune time for us to deepen and strengthen our relationship with God. We must offer no less to our country, to let the call of John the Baptist ring loudly again—make clear a path for the Lord, so that the mountains of crime and poverty will crumble, the valleys of debt and selfishness will be filled in, and God’s glory will reign.