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The WORD. The TRUTH.

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Homily for Tuesday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time, 26 October 2021, Luke 13:18-21

Our readings today are about HOPE. They contain a message that we need to hear, especially when we are confronted by too many challenges ahead of us and we are tempted to give up.

How does a good project get destroyed? Well, in the same way that it was begun—from inside. In one’s mind, one’s heart, one’s imagination. That’s where we usually start building, don’t we? In our dreams. St. Paul says it very well; he asks, “Hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one already sees?” (Rom 8:24-25)

Hope is about an inner light that turns on when darkness takes over. A bit like the emergency lamps that light up in our homes when there is a sudden black-out, or “brown-out”, as we would say in the Philippines. Presuming of course, that they are charged.

Hope is like a fully charged imagination that enables us to see what is not yet visible. Our imagination makes it visible inside. There, it germinates slowly like the mustard seed; it rises silently like a mass of dough that has been mixed with a little little yeast, which our Gospel today is speaking about.

I have a feeling that this is also the kind of thing that is presently happening in our country, as we are preparing for the coming election. There is something happening that seemed almost impossible to many people just a few months ago. But then you see, God has a different way of making things happen.

This is actually the continuation of Romans 8, which we will read tomorrow. In verse 28 of that chapter, St. Paul says, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

St. Paul speaks with a tone of certainty even when what he speaks of is not yet visible. He is right; he says, “if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.” (Rom 8:25) Therefore he speaks about the basic virtue that people of hope are endowed with—PATIENCE, their ability to hold on to their dreams and visions even while these are yet in the imagination. The tenacity to see them to their completion. He says, “In hope we are saved.” (Rom 8:24) Salvation is not possible in one who does not have the patience to hope.

In Tagalog, we say, “huwag kang masisiraan ng loob.” Don’t allow your dreams to collapse inside you. Why? Because there is no way you can build them outside, if you have not kept them intact inside of you.

Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” He believes that compared to knowledge which is limited, imagination is limitless. He says, “Imagination encircles the world.”

That is how it begins when an architect builds a house by first putting it all together in his mind and visualizing it on blueprint. Or quite like a mason doing stone work who does not say when he is asked what he is doing: “I am putting a stone on top of a stone.” Rather, he says, “I am building a cathedral.”

That is also how you build a nation. It is how you build a better, more humane, more peaceful and more equitable society. It is how you build a civilization. It is how you build anything worth building, period. And it is also how we take part in building the kingdom of God.

Despair is the opposite of hope. It is the experience of caving in, of finding yourself in a kind of no-way-out situation, or feeling like falling apart and breaking into pieces. It is actually a temptation. The evil one wants you to believe that it is pointless to even dream or hope because the odds are too great. It wants you to give up before you even give it a try. The devil is very good at that. He will destroy a good project by disheartening the builders.

Hope is like that movement that a mother begins to feel in her womb that can be scary and painful; but it is a movement that leads to a birthing. Imagine a mother who gets terrified by this movement and who is so overcome by fear so that she thinks she is dying when she is actually bringing forth a new life?

Hope refocuses us from ourselves to that which is in the process of birthing. The one who hopes, instead of resisting, learns to synchronize with the rhythmic waves of the labor pains like a woman who is groaning, patiently assisting her child’s passage into this world. Patience is the key word for hope.

In the famous movie on the life of St. Francis of Assisi entitled BROTHER SUN, SISTER MOON, there is a scene where St. Francis, with the help of his friends, is rebuilding a church that had fallen in ruins. He says,

“If you want your dream to be

Take your time, go slowly…

Day by day, stone by stone

Build your secret slowly…”

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