Community News

Hope

 
Picture of Nicholas Moloney
Hope
by Nicholas Moloney - Wednesday, 3 June 2020, 2:11 PM
 

As I watch the news of an evening, it is hard to comprehend the animosity and destruction that I see happening in America at present. It took me back nearly 30 years to the riots in Los Angeles with Rodney King. And now we are here again. No doubt a lot has changed in 30 years, however obviously not enough!

On reflecting about this and our own issues in Australia, particularly in National Reconciliation Week, I am reminded of an article written by Anthony Clarke who was the Director of Marist Formation in 2018. He writes;

How do we give hope to the next generation?

In a TEDx talk, Pope Francis, when talking about the future said, ‘To Christians, the future does have a name, and its name is Hope.’

Yet the current global world trends suggest some very challenging indicators to a hope-filled future for many people of the world. We are witnessing the highest levels of displaced people on record with over 65 million people in the world driven from their homes (50% of these are people under the age of 18), 1 in 6 people live in extreme poverty, we see enormous flows of migration, seismic effects of war and terrorist attacks, devastating fallouts from the financial crisis, the serious prospect of ecological disaster, the widening gap between rich and poor, and in our own country particularly, alarming rates of homelessness and mental health issues.

In this context, what can be said of the hope we have to offer the next generation and what difference can we make? Timothy Radcliffe in his book, What is the Point of Being a Christian? suggests that it starts with each one of us and the way we live our lives as Christians: ‘If we are pointed to God, then this should make a difference to how we live. This is not a moral superiority. Christians are no better than anyone else. But the lives of Christians should be marked by some form of hope, freedom, happiness and courage. If they are not, then why should anyone believe a word they say?’

Jesus gives us the most beautiful example of the kind of hope and freedom He wants for every person through the story of the healing of the bent over woman (Luke 13:10-17). We do not know her name. We do not know where she came from. Over eighteen years this woman had been bent over and the only thing she could see was the dirt on the ground and dust at her feet.
Then she encountered Jesus. He called her to Him and with a gentle word and simple touch she was immediately cured; ‘Woman, you are set free!’. From that moment she straightened up. She could see the smiles on people’s faces. She could see the sun. The shape of her previous crippled body was a symbol of all those things that stunt or distort our lives: fear, ignorance, prejudice, discrimination. She was now set free and began another way of seeing the world. She could now look at the horizon for the first time, one full of possibility and promise.

This is the Christian hope that we have to offer to others, especially young people and those on the edges: to free them from that which cripples and burdens their lives, to know their lives matter, to stand tall and see the sky. And it begins with us, through our ability to love and the way that we are able to live our lives for others.