Last night, I was the presider in the Novena-Mass in preparation for the parish fiesta. The theme chosen for the eight day was "Action and Suffering as Settings for Learning Hope." The themes for the nine days are actually taken from the recent encyclical letter of Pope Benedict XVI entitled "Spe Salvi."
This is my homily:
Many of us want to make this world a better place to live in. Many of us are engaged in action for justice, peace, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, to get rid of corruption. We want to get rid of the evils in the world.
Yet most often we realize that we are not accomplishing much. We experience so many failures and set backs. Despite of our efforts the evils in our society persist. What is worst is that we often suffer because of our actions. This can fill us with a sense of helplessness and sometimes we want to give up.
What keeps us going?
In his encyclical letter, Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict reminds us that action and suffering are the settings for learning hope.
It is hope that keeps us going. It is hope that prevents us from giving up, inspite of the apparent failures, setbacks and suffering that we go through. We keep on hoping in the midst of a seemingly hopeless situation.
What is the content of our hope? That in the end, good will triumph over evil, that the Kingdom of God in its fullness will triumph over the reign of evil.
Our actions and the suffering that we bear, no matter how insignificant and seemingly ineffective can make a difference to make the future better than the present.
Archbishop Oscar Romero once wrote:
“We simply plant seeds that will one day grow. Nothing we do is complete. This enables us to do something and do it well. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. We may never see the end results. We are workers, not master builders, servant leaders, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.”