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By Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican

The recent shooting and killing of innocent  people and critically injuring many more in Colorado as well as the more recent killing in the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, WI., sent shock waves around the world and many are asking the question “How do I choose hope in these dark and challenging times?” There is no easy answer to this question but it needs to be explored.

We can and must believe that even in the darkest times, God’s hand will always hold and support us. It calls us to believe that even behind the darkest clouds, there is something more that will bring sunshine into our lives. Hope is in the expecting and the waiting. We can never give up even when there is no visible sign that things will be better. Is. 43:2 tells us “When you pass through waters they will not swallow you up. When you go through rivers, they will not sweep over you” In the power of the Spirit, we are sent to reflect God’s healing, mercy and hope and forgiveness to all that we meet.

After the tragic events in Colorado and Wisconin we heard many stories of compassion when people were reaching out to those affected by the tragedy, and helping them live through their pain and loss. People gathered in many groups to pray for those who lost their loved ones and also with the hope that people would not respond with revenge. Some were discussing what they could do to replace the violence in our communities with peace, justice, love and forgiveness. We can all reflect on God’s plan for our own lives, our communities, nation and world, and work with others to make God’s plan a reality in our time and place.  No matter what the challenges are, nothing is impossible with the power and grace of God.  

As we journey with Jesus, we all experience many life challenges. If we focus only on the problems, the result is we will intensify the pain and become engulfed in fear and doubt. Sometimes such events can bring about transformation in our own lives and in our communities and helps us to search for deeper meaning as we continue our life journey. We are reminded of the Gospel story of Peter walking on water to meet Jesus. When Peter looked down and saw only the waves, he began to sink. When he kept his eyes on Jesus, he arrived safely at his destination. Choosing hope is the only way to go and succeed. Our hope is based on our faith in God, not a God somewhere up in the clouds but a God who is described in Matthew’s  Gospel as one who says:  “I am with you all days even to the end of the age.” This is not an avoidance of the problems. It means we must ground our hope on the reliable promises of Jesus who never fails us.

May this event challenge us to look at all the violence in our homes, communities, nation and world, and do what we can to replace the violence with peace, forgiveness and justice. Can we speak out about all the wars we as a nation are involved in and find other ways to address conflict and divisions. Complaining about the problems we have inherited will accomplish nothing. We become stronger and more compassionate when we live with hope. Often the darkest hour is before the dawn. Some fearless leader in the past has said:  “We are as small as our fears and despair and as great as our courage and hope.”

“Loving God, may we be your partners in hope this day and every day.”  No effort is too small to make a difference.

Preaching Essay Archive

Just click on an Essay title below to read it.
(The latest submissions are listed first.)

• Preaching Mark 2023 •
• Preaching Mark 2022 •
• Even the Hymns Preach •
• Advent 2018 •
• Preaching Luke •
• The Journey Through Lent •
• A New Year - A Time To Choose •
• Called To Continue Our Journey As Peacemakers •
• Easter: A Call To Renew Our Faith •
• Fan Into Flame •
• Grieving Our Losses •
• The Importance of Inter-Religious Sharing •
• Are We Living In Pentecost Times? •
• Living With Gratitude and Hope •
• “Lumen Fidei” – the Call and the Challenge •
• What is the "New Evangelization"? •
• Pentecost •
• Inculturated Liturgy Challenges Preaching to Flower •
• Preaching Lent - Year C •
• Reflection - Psalm 127 •
• Reaching Youth Today •
• The Need To Reclaim And Live With Moral Courage •
• The Sacred Triduum •
• Welcoming the Stranger •
• Working for Peace •

Blessings on your preaching.

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