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March 27, 1998     The Message
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10 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Why is this a time for hope? ..... .... By FATHER EUGENE LaVERDIERE, S.S.S. Catholic News Service Sometimes I hear people say that the world is beyond redemption. There is so much evil in the world that they want it to end. They speak of the end of the world and point to natural signs such as comets, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and tor- nadoes as proofs that the end is near. They also point to man-made evils such as wars and the proliferation of atomic weapons. God will destroy the world and start over again. They look forward to a.whole new creation. They quote the Scriptures, especially the Book of Revelation, for proofs from the word of God. In this they connect passages and verses to what currentl}; is happening in the world. People with such attitudes have been around through Christian history, espe- cially in times of rapid change. The first century was no exception. It was a time of rapid change when Jesus came and gave his life to save the world, when the apostles and the early Chris- tians spread the Gospel of salvation, when most of the New Testament was written. Many people, both Jews and Chris- tians, saw evil on every side. They thought that the world was coming to an end. Somehow their attitudes toward the world and their belief that it was about to end did not prevail. The Book of Revelation actually was a response to these people. The Book of Revelation is a book of hope addressed to seven churches in the Roman province of Asia, beginning with Ephesus, Smyr- na and Pergamum. The author, John of Patmos, had great faith in the Lord Jesus, who gave his life for the world. If Jesus did that, the Chris- tians should look at the world with eyes of hope. Today there is evil all around, as there was evil in New Testament times. In his death and resurrection, Jesus conquered the power of evil. Someday his victory will be manifested fully. Christians are personal signs of Jesus' presence in the world, signs of his good- ness and redemptive love. They celebrate his presence and his victory over evil whenever they.assemble for the Lord's Supper. Someday they will join him in the ultimate celebration of his victory when the Lord Jesus is fully present in the world. The New Testament attitude of hope is summarized in the Lord's Prayer, as given in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2- 4. The same prayer summarizes the hope of Christians today. God is our Father. We pray -- and we hope -- that his kingdom come, that his name be hallowed, that his will be done. That means we recognize that his king- dom is not fully here, that his name is not fully hallowed and that very often his will is not done. -- Recognizing the hunger of the world, we pray with hope for our daily bread. Recognizing that we are sinners, we pray with hope for forgiveness. Recognizing the evil around us, we pray with hope to be spared from the final test and for deliverance from evil. At the time Mark wrote his Gospel, around 70 A.D., many people thought that history and creation were about to end. The Romans had just destroyed Jerusalem or at least had laid siege to Jerusalem. -- Vespasian, the Roman general who led the campaign against Judea and Jerusalem, had been acclaimed emperor. Peter and Paul already had been martyred in Rome. Everything looked very bleak for the Christians. ' See TIME page 9 I .... iiiiiiii i!!i iiiiiiiiii!!i!ili  ii!;i!ii i!!!!il;iiiiiiiii i  iilJ ' .:. 4 ,r , /i: ,  .  ii "Recognizing the hunger of the world, we praywith hope for ! Recognizing that we are sinners, we pray with hope nizing the evil around us, we pray with hope.., fm Sacrament Father Eugene LaVerdiere as he explains why reasons to always be hopeful, no matter the circumstance. -- CNS photo top by Karen Callaway, left by Bill Wttrnan, The hope-filled, potholed road to jubilee ' By DONNA M. HANSON Catholic News Service - It gives me hope whenever the people of the church combine prayer, educa- tion, advocacy and almsgiving in an effort to fill a pothole of injustice in our world. It gives me hope, for example, when I see children, who might otherwise tend to be very seE-focused, discovering how happy it makes them to focus on the needs of others. In the 1997-98 school year, children and their families in the Diocese of Spokane, Wash. -- my diocese launched a diocesan project called "100 Ways in 100 Days." Catholic Charities and the Catholic schools invited each classroom to do a project. On the 100th day of school, represen- tatives from 16 Catholic schools gathered at the diocesan pastoral center for a prayer service highlighting the collection of 100 packages of lifesavers, 100 pairs of socks and 100 place mats for use at a shelter for the homeless. Again, the children at Assumption School in Walla Walla, Wash., used each day during Catholic Schools Week to learn about a Catholic Charities program and to gather 100 items: shampoo and soap, toilet paper and facial tissues, and peanut butter and jelly  something with which they particularly identified for the hungry. It gives me hope when I see young people just out of college investing a year or two in voluntary efforts to make the world a better place. Beth, Scott, Sarah and Katie are among the young adults I know who are com- mitting at least the year after college to Holy Cross Associates and Jesuit Volun- teer Corps programs. Whether at an HIV/AIDS center in Oakland, Calif., or an emergency shelter in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., or a teaching posi- tion in Tanzania, these gifted young adults are both doing good and dramat- icaUy changing their world. It likewise gives me hope when I see that those who serve the poor also learn from the poor. They recognize the value of what each has to give to the other. Steve, an anesthesiologist with three children, takes two weeks of annual leave, pays his own way and goes to developing countries to assist with chil- dren's surgeries. Upon his return, Steve explains that the greater change is not in the children served but in the different life he now creates for his own children by raising them in a less materialistic way. There is also Buena Vista, the national organization committed to supporting small Christian communities worldwide. It is engaged in "twinning"  whereby a better-off parish serves one much poor- er. Isn't it interesting, though, that a parish in Tanzania shares Scripture read- ings, reflection strategies with a munity in Colorad( As I prepare Isee" the church and Hanson is in the Diocese the Catholic 2' !: