“Hope is passion for what is possible,” the Danish Christian philosopher and theologian, Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) (considered to be a founder of Existentialist thought and Absurdist traditions. He wrote critical texts on organized religion, Christendom, morality, ethics, psychology and philosophy of religion, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and parables.)
“Hope is passion for what is possible,” which means that hope is not the right attitude in life for pies in the sky! Hope is based on what is possible. Hope is not some artificial, smug mask of an ear-to-ear smile worn over a face that is grim, oozing sadness, disgust, fear or even contempt to life and God! Hope is looking forward and upward with passion because hope knows that what it hopes for is truly possible!
In around 65 AD, very close to Mark’s Gospel, 1Pt 3:15, presents its readers with an earth-shaking conviction: “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you.” So, when someone asks you: where do you get your genuine smile from? How could you remain so strong? Where did you find the atomic strength to forgive so and so after all that they did to you? Or, look, tell me how do I make mine what you have?!
Where do we get this hope? Every single promise he gave us, Jesus fulfilled it. Every single thing Jesus did, we as Christians and disciples can do as well. And even more! He said it himself! Even in his human lowest state–in death itself–he didn’t deceive us! He promised us: “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; but on the third day he will be raised” (Mt 20:18-19). And he was! That’s how the angel greeted the women at the tomb: “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he had promised. Come, see the place where he lay (Mt 28:5-6).
So shall we go green? Not only ecologically; not only liturgically, because from Monday after Pentecost the Church wears green as its liturgical colour. Shall we go green as a symbol of the hope we DO have indeed!
Hope? Yes, and a hope in what Jesus’ death achieved for me, personally: “Christ who lives in me; he who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).
Yes, and a hope in what Jesus’ resurrection achieved for me, personally: he is truthful, he is faithful to his word, he is truth itself!
Jesus’ death and resurrection brought me the totally, gratuitous gift of the Sweet Comforter, Strength in weakness, Peace in trouble, Wisdom in darkness, Guide in perplexity, the One who keeps bringing us back to reality when we wander off into worldliness, the Breast upon which to lay our heads, the Love in which to bathe our hearts, the Paraclete who is the Holy Spirit.
With the Spirit came Resurrection Power, truth about myself, knowledge of self. With the Spirit came the Seven Gifts: the Prophet Isaiah 11:2-3 describes them as Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord, that is, the feeling of amazement before God, who is all-present, and whose friendship we do not want to lose;
but with the Spirit came also the armour of God himself for our everyday spiritual warfare: the belt of truth around our waist, the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for our feet, whatever will make us ready to proclaim the gospel of peace; the shield of faith, with which we will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one, and the helmet of salvation, together with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph 6:13-17).
In Jesus, hope is indeed transformed into a passion for what is possible!
By Fr Paul Sciberras