A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry – Week 5
by Fr. Joe
A Vision of Hope
“God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else – God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life. Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.”
Pope Francis, America Press Rome Interview, August 2013
Our parish continues casting a vision of Hope and ministry through Scripture, Church teaching and cultural images during the next weeks. Our goal is fuller participation in God’s Sacred Mission through prayer worship and ministry.
Superheroes for Christ
The popular cultural image of a Superhero is being used to focus attention on our role in God’s mission.
- Superhero – an individual entrusted with a heroic mission and granted superpowers to carry out their noble work.
- In Baptism we are entrusted with and empowered for Christ’s own heroic mission.
- We are Superheroes for Christ sharing in a heavenly mission through ministry on earth.
Secular Symbol/Sacred Meaning
The most recognizable Superhero symbol is the S S is also the first letter of the Latin word SPES – which means HOPE. Using our parish colors of green and gold we have converted the secular symbol into a symbol for Christian Hope.
Explore the animated and musical Presentation entitled “A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry – Superheroes for Christ” created by Fr. Joe and Fr. Jared on our website: www.stphilip.org
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which God has called you.” Ephesians 1:18
Christian Hope is a gift from God that we can experience in prayer. The anagram of H O P E will be used to illustrate four steps in prayer that help us to experience God’s gift of Hope in our daily lives.
Prayer Steps to Hope
Honesty – Being completely candid with God about our thoughts, feelings and situation.
Openness – Consciously affirming God’s ability to do more for us than we are able to do for ourselves, through the transformation of our mind, heart and spirit.
Perspective – Asking God to reveal in prayer new ways of seeing ourselves, others and circumstances with eyes of faith and love.
Endurance – Relying on the power of the Holy Spirit for courage, self-control, strength and inner peace.
Weekend Scripture Reflection
- The prophet Habakkuk cries out to God with great heartfelt Honesty, complaining and even rebuking God. God responds with a promise that in time God’s vision will be revealed and God’s promises fulfilled.
- Openness is the prayer of the psalmist who sings, “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your heart.”
- St. Paul gives us a new Perspective about God’s gifts that dwells within us through the Holy Spirit: courage, power, love, self-control, faith and a rich strength in Christ Jesus.
- The Gospel affirms that even faith the size of a tiny seed gives us all we need for faithful Endurance. God equips us for service beyond our expectation so that we may accomplish our daily Mission as Superheroes for Christ.
Reflection on H O P E – Honesty
One afternoon a woman was watching a movie in a theater. She became annoyed because someone was kicking her seat from behind and giving a running verbal commentary about everything that was happening on the screen. Although annoyed, she tried to ignore the disturbance and gave up hope of enjoying the film. Suddenly, she felt something wet on the back of her neck. Furious, she wheeled around in her seat and found herself face to face with a German shepherd. Within a moment, she saw the situation in a new way and laughed.
The wet sensation on her neck was a lick from the Seeing Eye dog whose happy tail had also disturbed her. The talking, of course, was between a blind man and his companion explaining the action in the movie.
While the actual situation for the woman in the movie had not changed her perception of what was going on was altered by her taking an honest look at the circumstances. Her Honest look and Openness gave her a new Perspective which led her not to grim Endurance but to a place of HOPE. Her new joy was in the HOPE that she was helping someone else by accepting the situation with grace and good humor. Nothing had changed but everything had changed.
- When have I had a change of perspective similar to the woman in the story?
- How has God helped me to see myself, others or situations in new ways?
- God invites me to be completely honest in prayer. What thoughts, feelings and situations do I wish to share with God openly?
- In what area is my heart hardened? What is God’s invitation in these situations?
- What are the gifts and graces that I wish to honestly thank God for in my life?
Think of a situation that calls for God’s help in your life. Use the four steps of HOPE: Honesty, Openness, Perspective, Endurance in your own prayer (See Prayer Steps to Hope above). Write a sentence or two about how God is inviting you to a new vision of HOPE.
God of HOPE, bring forth in us such joy and peace in our faith that the power of the Holy Spirit will enable us to act with heroic love in an abundant life. Romans 15:13