Has My Hope Been Taken From Me?
Devotional Thoughts for this Day
2 I was resolved that the only knowledge I would have while I was with you was knowledge of Jesus, and of him as the crucified Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:2 (NJB)
929 The cross on your breast? Good. But the cross on your shoulders, the cross in your flesh, the cross in your mind. Thus will you live for Christ, with Christ, and in Christ; only thus will you be an apostle.
The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”226 Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.
The comfort extended by Luther is rooted in the fact that the person assailed by temptation is a member of the communion of saints and is armed with God’s Word. The tempted person, however, should realize that there is always a benefit that accrues to him from such assaults, although he dare not attempt to divine it. Finally, he invites the tempted person to a fuller faith in Christ, but Luther warns that before the trials subside, they will first flare to greater intensity.
There is a growing multitude of problems that have been caused by the pandemic. Beyond the health concerns, there are significant challenges in finance, in education, in mental health, in social dynamics – of homes and of communities.
Many of us are challenged by depression and temptation, as anger and pain can only be hidden for so long. Often, when we do strikeout, the target is not who it should be. We might even tear ourselves up, thinking that everything is our fault. This is not reasonable, yet there is no reason in a pandemic.
The Apostle Peter writes, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15 (NLT2)) In doing so, he calls me back to remember the hope I do have, a hope that I barely hold on to it at times. More important, that Hope, He holds on to me.
That is why Jesus is all Paul wants to think of, and specifically Jesus – crucified. Jesus bearing every sin, every injustice, every bit of brokenness. Jesus, lifted up, to whom we are not just drawn to, but into whom we are drawn. The Catholic Catechism righty uses the word intimate in regard to our union with Jesus. It is more than we can explain, it is more than we can cognitively know, yet in that movement, it that taking and eating, we go beyond a casual acquaintance with God,.
That is why St Josemaria would have us fixated on the cross. That is why Luther talks about coming out of a time of trial with a faith that is far greater than when we entered. For faith is knowing the presence of Jesus so well, that we just live and move dependent on Him.
That intimacy is not all we need, it is all we have.
Realizing that is the challenge, along with remembering it as we are assailed, as we see the brokenness, as we deal with our issue. not alone, but as He is here, with us.
That is the reason I have hope, this relationship with Jesus- the one crucified for us…
The One who is alive! Praise God – and because He is risen, so are we. AMEN!
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997), 351.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 42: Devotional Writings I, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 42 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 182.