THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2013
A FUTURE OF HOPE
Faith and hope go together. Both have to do with salvation.
By faith we are saved, and “in hope we were saved.”
(Rom 8:24a). Both have to do with things unseen, and what
is of the future. Faith is evidence of things not seen; “Now
hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what
one sees?” (Rom 8:24b). Faith, according to Hebrews,
is the realization of what is hoped for.
faith in Christ leads us to share Christ, to proclaim the
good news of salvation in him, to help bring people from out
of captivity to the evil one and into the kingdom of God.
In turn, it is our hope in Christ that enable us to look to
being “set free from slavery to corruption and share
in the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Rom
is why we have been raised as an evangelistic and missionary
community. This is our call, our charism, our destiny. This
is our great privilege, to participate in divine work. “For
creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the
children of God” (Rom 8:19). All creation, especially
humankind, looks to being restored to God. In the meantime,
we are under slavery to sin and Satan. But in Christ there
is hope, and that is our faith. “We know that all creation
is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that,
but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the
redemption of our bodies.” (Rom 8:22-23). We have been
baptized in the Spirit. Now it is the Spirit within us who
prods us to evangelize. This is all about the work of salvation.
that it is the most important work in the Kingdom, we are
called to give of ourselves generously and wholeheartedly
to the mission. We endure even as we can expect to suffer.
No matter how difficult the work is, with its oppressions
and persecution, we persevere, because we look to what is
to come. “But if we hope for what we do not see, we
wait with endurance.” (Rom 8:25). Compared to heaven
that is to come, we can endure the hell that is part of life
on earth. “I consider that the sufferings of this present
time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed
for us.” (Rom 8:18). Indeed, suffering for the cause
of Christ is its own reward.
the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few, if we present
ourselves to the Master as workers for the harvest, then whatever
work we contribute will result in great blessing, to us and
to those we reach. The hardships we endure will be well worth
it. “Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of
joy.” (Ps 126:5). And why not. We would have participated
in the very work of God. We would have helped bring people
to salvation. We sow, and we harvest as the Lord provides.
“Those who go forth weeping, carrying sacks of seed,
will return with cries of joy, carrying their bundled sheaves.”
what that work truly is. The little we contribute results
in great blessings. The mustard seed that is planted will
grow into a large bush and the birds of the sky will dwell
in its branches (Lk 13:19). The little yeast will leaven the
whole batch of dough (Lk 13:21). Our small effort will be
multiplied a hundredfold. Small beginnings, just like the
start of the Church at Pentecost, will result in explosive
expansion of the Kingdom. Small breakthroughs will enlarge
the reign of God on earth.
is God’s work and nothing is impossible. With faith
we can do wonders. With faith and hope we dream of what can
be. “When the Lord restored the captives of Zion, we
thought we were dreaming.” Ps 126:1). But the dream
will turn into reality, because this is God’s plan.
It is His intent. As we see the fruit of our worldwide work,
we can truly rejoice. The pain will turn into gain. “Then
our mouths were filled with laughter; our tongues sang for
joy.” (Ps 126:2a).
we do rapid, massive and worldwide evangelization, the nations
of the world will know that Jesus is Savior and Lord. In him
is salvation, abundant life, freedom, entry into heaven. “Then
it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord had done great
things for them.’” (Ps 126:2b).
now, until we realize that great harvest, with faith and hope,
we simply recognize how we have already been blessed. “The
Lord has done great things for us; oh, how happy we were!”
(Ps 126:3). We must go forth with great gratitude and joy
in our hearts, and persevere in our work of evangelization.
Let us apply ourselves to the work at hand, and let our constant
prayer be: “Restore our captives, Lord, like the dry
stream beds of the Negeb.” (Ps 126:4).