There is suffering in the world. We wish there wasn’t. We pray for an end to all suffering. We need to seek to do our part to alleviate suffering. Yet, we know the reality is that there is suffering. It might be from illness. It may be job-related. It may be as a consequence of our bad choices or the bad choices of another. Sometimes we have no reason for suffering.
Yet, with faith in God we have hope. Hope transcends suffering. Peter writes, “Always be ready to give an explanation for your hope but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear.” (Today’s second reading) Perhaps one of the greatest things we can do for others in sharing the faith is to share the reason we have hope.
Why do we have hope?
Because Jesus Christ willingly gave his life, dying for our sins. As Peter writes, “For Christ also suffering for sins once…that he might lead you to God.” We have hope because of Jesus.
“Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” One might interpret this to mean that Jesus’ love is conditional based on our keeping of his commandments. It doesn’t say that. His love is not conditional. God’s love for us is absolute. As Jesus says, “No one has greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Actually, Jesus doesn’t just say this. It is exactly what He does for us on the Cross. Jesus lays down his life for us on the Cross.
If our love for Jesus is true and pure, we will trust in him. Trusting him, means knowing that his commandments are good for us. Trusting him means keeping his commandments. Thus, loving Jesus means keeping his commandments.
In the Old Testament we heard of the tremendous works of God. In the gospels we hear of many signs done by Jesus that led people to believe in him. In the Acts of the Apostles we hear of the signs done by the Apostles that got the crowds to pay attention. All of these can be reasons for our hope.
Jesus willingly laying down his life for us should be at the top of the list.
Jesus does so much for us and it did not stop with his death. Before his death He tells us, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept.” Of course, He is speaking of the Holy Spirit.
He speaks of how the world cannot accept the Spirit of truth. Why not? Because many do not want to. If they accept what God gives as Truth, then they would have to change. They don’t want to. So, they reject it as false. Do you accept the Truth God gives us?
God will never abandon us. He will never leave us orphaned. Jesus assures us, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.“
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).