We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,
about those who have fallen asleep,
so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. (1 Thes 4:13)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. ‘Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.'”
So many people lose hope because of all that happens in the world today: natural disasters, man-made disasters, war, famine, murder, genocide, infanticide. I could list much more but I do not want to depress you!
Hope is something that is so desperately needed in our world today.
In my experience through the years, hope is only found in people who have some kind of faith in Jesus.
This thought crystalized through the years as I have seen people who had no faith deal with the death of a loved one. In their eyes, everything was over. Since there was no hope of resurrection, there could be no hope for comfort or consolation. All was desolation and loss.
“We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.” That opening line from the letter of St. Paul to the Church in Thessalonica does not order the Christian community not to grieve. We all grieve. Grief is a normal reaction to the loss of a loved one.
However, the letter reminds us that, while we grieve, we grieve through the eyes of faith and the vision of hope. Our grief gives way to the hope that we will be reunited again one day in God’s Kingdom.
Jesus won that victory for us in his death and resurrection.
We place our hope in Him knowing that there is the possibility of eternal life.
FAITH ACTION: Remember the faithful departed fondly in prayer today.