On New Year’s Day, Pope Francis announced that the year 2020 will be one of “peace as a journey of hope.” He asked that we begin the year with gratitude and praise. These statements were made before anyone knew that the coronavirus pandemic was going to make it difficult to find hope and inner peace. Pope Francis did not know that people were going to need to find new ways to be grateful and praise God in the midst of the virus’s disruption. If 2020 needs anything, it is hope.
I recently heard someone refer to the saying “hindsight is 20/20” in relation to the year 2020. He suggested that when we look back over this year, we are going to see the glory of the Lord in more than we can see now. We will see the hope and peace that God has given us this year. With all the change in our lives and in the world, we must remember the things that have not changed: God’s love for us, his power, and faithfulness to his promises. We continue to be his beloved sons and daughters, called to live in love of him and each other.
The Lord is making himself known. We may look at this time as a sacred time that we will not get back. Try to spend time reflecting on how God has made himself known to you so far this year.
In a 2017 TED Talk, Pope Francis shared a message that we need to reclaim in 2020 and beyond. He said, “The future does have a name, and its name is Hope. Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naïve and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness, that doesn’t dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow.”
What are ways we can be hopeful, even as we continue to face uncertainty? One way is to reflect on Scripture. In Romans 8:24-25, we read, “For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.”So far this year, there are times we do not see the glory of God amidst the struggles, cancelations and changing plans. But, like in Romans, we must hope for what we cannot see. That is the confidence we have in God. Spend some time reading, reflecting and asking God to reveal his hope to you. Think of where you find hope and opportunities you can provide hope for others.
Pope Francis reminds us that hope has a name, and it is Jesus Christ. The opening sentence of the 2019 Apostolic Exhortation to young people and to the entire people of God, titled Christus Vivit (Christ Lives!), reads, “Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world, and everything he touches becomes young, new, full of life.”
We, the Church, need to hope for what is not seen and look to tomorrow optimistically. Our hope is Jesus Christ. God is for us and with us. In hope we are saved! “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”(Romans 15:13)
Pope Francis and others have shared a lot on this topic. You can easily find some resources here.