We experience hope because man and the universe is oriented toward the future. "If the world were a self-contained system of cause and effect, then hope could either regard this world as itself as its fulfillment, or else in Gnostic fashion transcend and reflect itself into the supra-wordly." (Jürgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope, Fortress Press, Minniopolis, 1991, p. 92). Christ came to reveal this future and by his Death-Resurrection to orient mankind and the universe toward that future which He himself has attained in his human nature. St. Paul tells us,
Christ has not been raised,
then empty (too) is our preaching;
empty, too, your faith."
(I Cor. 15:14)
Why is faith empty if there is no resurrection? Because without the Resurrection we would have no proof that by his death He conquered the Sin of the World. Without the resurrection of Christ there would be no resurrection of the dead and hope for eternal life. The universe and intelligent life in it would have no point of attraction and matter itself would have no way to participate in God's life of glory.
If you look closely at the image you will see that Christ is holding a cross in his left hand with the banner of victory. In the Congregation of Holy Cross we have a motto, "The Cross is our Only Hope". This means that Christ is saving us from Sin by His Sacrifice of obedience to the Father and because of this the Father raised him to become Lord of heaven and earth. We participate in the saving suffering of Christ by accepting the pains, sorrows, disappointments, etc. God sends us daily and when we fail, we can turn to Him in hope because there is no limit to the number of times God forgives us. "Trust is an absolutely essential part of our spiritual lives because it triumphs over fear, anxiety and popular opinion. By willingly following the Lord's call in our lives, we most clearly demonstrate our trust in the One is is always true." (Fr. Peter McCormick, CSC)
The Kingdom of God in this world is hidden under the shadow of the Cross. "The Kingdom of God is hidden beneath its opposites: its freedom is hidden under trials, its happiness under suffering, its right under rightlessness, its omnipotence under weakness, its glory under unrecognizability. Here the Kingdom of God is seen in the form of the lordship crucified one." (Iibid., Jürgen Moltmann, p. 223)
endure in affliction,
persevere in prayer."
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