Hope: a gift we cannot keep to ourselves


By Barb Arland-Fye

“May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us who have put our hope in you.” This is the final sentence of the responsorial psalm we will hear after the first reading of the Easter Vigil, the “mother of all vigils.” This liturgy unfolds the awesome mystery of our faith. It is the turning point in the Easter Triduum in which we are “celebrating the resurrection of Christ in the sacraments and awaiting his return in glory” (https://tinyurl.com/34udjbjf). Our faith calls us to be a people of hope, which is a gift from our generous, merciful, loving God. Hope is a gift that, as Pope Francis says, we cannot keep to ourselves. We are to share it with others.

We have done nothing to merit this gift of hope. “The deliverance that God extends to us in Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection and which he perpetuates for us in the sacraments is entirely gratuitous. It comes to us because God is holy, not because we are … And we are blessed this night and throughout our lives to take part in that holiness,” says Father Eric Wagner, CR, one of the authors of the 2024 “Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers, and Proclaimers of the Word.”

Our participation in the sacraments nourishes the gift of hope. We go out from the Church to share our hope with others — people who are hungry, addicted, lonely, struggling with parenting challenges or caregiving, struggling to maintain affordable housing, mourning the loss of a loved one or suffering from illness or accident.


In parishes throughout the Diocese of Davenport and around the world, we will welcome new members into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. Hope brought them to this place in their journey of faith, people like Fransisco Esparza and Sandy Brown, who will enter the Catholic Church at Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton. “I changed my life, thanks to God. Everything is so much clearer,” says Fransisco, whose journey began at Alcoholics Anonymous, continued with an invitation to attend Mass and moved forward in the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA). Brown, a nurse, hopes someday to give back to her new parish, perhaps through a parish nurse program. That’s what happens when we share the gift of hope.

Last week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement calling on the faithful to renew our prayers during Holy Week for an end to the Israel-Hamas war. “As the Church enters Holy Week and Christ’s suffering on the cross and his resurrection are made present to us so vividly, we are connected to the very source of hope,” the statement says.

“It is that hope that spurs us to call on Catholics here in the United States and all those of good will to renew their prayers for an end to the raging Israel-Hamas war,” the statement said. The letter’s authors, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, president of the USCCB and Bishop A. Elias Zaidan, chair of the USCCB’s Committee on International Peace and Justice, quoted Pope Francis. During his general audience earlier that week, he said the hostages must be released and civilians protected. Humanitarian aid must reach those who are in such dire need. “As Christians, we are rooted in the hope of the resurrection, and so we pray for a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land,” the bishops said in conclusion.

Hope was the theme of Pope Francis’ letter for the diocesan World Youth Day last November. Christian hope “is the certainty, rooted in love and faith, that God never abandons us and remains faithful to his promise: ‘Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me.’ … We can be signs of His love, which gives rise to joy and hope even in situations that appear hopeless,” the Holy Father said. ‘“Having received this joy and hope’ … we cannot keep it to ourselves. ‘You will come to realize that it grows by being given away’” (Vatican News, https://tinyurl.com/24cfk5yb).

Let us be so inspired to give the gift of hope away, beyond the Triduum and Easter Season.

Barb Arland-Fye, Editor

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