Dear saints in Christ,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
So wrote St. Peter in his first epistle, chapter 1 verse three. And if there is anyone who knew what being born again to a living hope is about, it would be Peter. After all, it was Peter, nicknamed “The Rock” by Jesus, who crumbled into pebbles under pressure the night Jesus was arrested when he denied even knowing the Lord not once, not twice, but three times. How could there be any hope for him after committing such a cowardly act?
But when Jesus appeared to Peter personally on Easter day, hope was restored. Hope was restored, not in the sense of wishful thinking but of firm conviction. Hope was restored, not in any promises Peter may have made about trying harder not to deny Jesus anymore, but only in the promises Jesus made to him—the promise of total and complete forgiveness. That is solid hope. That is a hope all people need to have, including us today.
How sad it is when human beings live without hope. St. Paul once said that the unbelievers of his day had no hope and were separated, not just from the promises of God, but from God Himself (see Eph. 2:11-12). He said that their lifestyle bore clear witness to the fact that they had no hope.
Hopeless living is still very much around us today. When human beings feel hopeless, they either totally give up and sink into depression, or they take matters completely into their own hands thinking that they must right all that is wrong in the world since no one else can do it.
The God who gave us life in the miracle of conception does not want us to live like that. He has something much greater in mind for us; something that places a premium on moral uprightness and honesty; something that will give us peace of mind and the desire to resist taking matters into our own hands. That something is hope.
Peter says that God has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He is our hope. The very forces which seek our demise in this world have been conquered by Jesus, almighty God in the flesh, when He rose from the grave in glory and splendor.
What good does that do us? Well, the living Jesus unites us to Himself to give us living hope. Having a living hope means that we know God ‘s plan for our lives. Oh, we may not know each and every detail, but we do know where He is leading us—to the final victory of eternal life, if we keep our faith in Him.
Having hope in our lives also means having courage to face the trials that are sure to come our way. Hope is not an artificial “smiley face” button that is oblivious to pain and suffering. Hope is having courage and patience in the midst of suffering. Hope allows us to cry when it hurts, yet hope also know that, in the end, God will make of us stronger, more resilient, more compassionate people that we were before.
The searching mass of humanity around us needs us to speak and live the message of hope; hope found only in the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ; hope found in His people of faith even when everything seems hopeless. May we always carry in us that living hope given to us by the resurrected Christ.
In His service and yours,