Jubilation!

There is this person who has suffered a massive stroke. To complicate
matters, he is diabetic and has pneumonia. Added to these conditions
is the swelling of his brain, thus the doctors predict that at most
this person will last only 48 hours. Operation is an option but the
prognosis is 80% mortality rate and 20% becoming a vegetable. Faced
with expected exorbitant hospital bills, what can the family do? Then
somebody suggested that he be given the anointing of the sick even
though it is past midnight. Fortunately, the priest obliges. After two
hours, the patient becomes a little conscious and requests for writing
materials. Through writing, he expresses his love for his family.
Another CT Scan and more tests reveal that the swelling of the brain
is still there but clinically, the patient is improving. With this
mystery, the family and the doctors could simply cite the miraculous
powers of the Sacrament.

The other story is about a prisoner who is ready to be released. He
has been jailed for estafa and illegal recruitment. He was in prison
for a little over three years, and now he is all set to assume his
family responsibilities. Of course, there is fear, yet he is also
hopeful that people will give him a chance when he will seek
employment in order to support his family.

These are all accounts of hope. After the passion and death of Jesus,
his Father ends his story with a ray of hope. A good man in the person
of Jesus was executed due to his lifestyle of doing good which was not
acceptable to those in authority and power. He had to suffer, be badly
beaten and crucified, but in the end, he is vindicated. Death is
finally conquered and new life comes. Jesus seemed to have been
defeated by death but he was raised from the dead.

In his encyclical entitled “Spe Salvi” (On Christian Hope), His
Holiness Pope Benedict XVI underscores the theme: Man needs God,
otherwise he remains without hope. He develops this idea in relation
to the great solemnity of Easter:

There is criticism of contemporary Christianity in that it has largely
limited its attention to individual salvation instead of the wider
world and thus, reduced the “horizon of its hope.” It is important to
remember that as Christians, we are not to limit ourselves in raising
the question about how I can save myself. We are to be concerned with
others by thinking of ways in order that others may also be saved. In
these past days of the Triduum recollection, what has been underscored
is the notion of communion. Such communion can only be seen and
experienced in the love, concern and unit y of the faithful. This, in
turn, can only be achieved if there is compassion, empathy, and
genuine concern for the welfare of the common good.

Why is it then important to hope? It is for the simple reason, that no
matter how perplexed and confused we are, we are to hang on to the
promise of Jesus who remains alive. Upon seeing the tomb, the other
disciple simply believed. When we find ourselves in situations where
there are competing voices for the truth, we are not to lose hope. It
will still be a long and arduous battle as we aspire for the truth and
justice but rest assured that victory will surely come. This is the
Easter message of hope.

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