Sing out the hymn of Christian hope
If God is for us, who is against us?' (Rom. 8, 3/) This is how St Paul concludes his teaching given in the previous chapters of his letter in which he has shown us God's plan for the salvation of mankind and has shown us this plan being carried out in Jesus who dies and rises for US.
God has committed himself totally for us and his initiative and his Iove for mankind appeared so evident to Paul and so marvellous that he breaks out in this explosion of admiration and gratitude.
St Paul pictures a court before which we are to be judged. However the judge, who is none other than God himself — has become our defending lawyer. Therefore St Paul asks if God has sided with us, who could stand up as a prosecutor against us. Obviously no-one could.
Even the accusations which might come from our conscience, our memory of the sins we committed, or from other people, or from the great enemy — Satan, become empty and have no weight.
if God is for us, who is against us?'
The passage which opens with these words has been called the hymn of Christian hope, the hymn of that virtue which gives as the strength to be faithful to God's call despite all the difficulties we may meet on our way. The Christian life as we know consists in welcoming God's word and making every endeavour to put it into practice. However we have to build up this life in a world and in situations in which we are conditioned inwardly in every way and we can take fright and become blocked spiritually in the face of these limitations. For example we may experience our own weakness, particularly in the face of very strong and insistent temptations, or when facing difficulties in the
, society we live in, or difficulties because of our economic life or our health.
Hope enables us to go beyond all these obstacles because we get all our strength from the fact that God loves us. Hope therefore means courage, optimism, confidence — the confidence that comes from God of course, and hope means being decisive and it means joy. If God is for us. who is against us?'
If we want to know what exactly hope is we must look at Jesus. He met many difficulties: the disbelief of people, insults, ferocious opposition by enemies, rejection by his own followers and then death, with the sensation that all his work had totally failed, He knew what was awaiting him. Nonetheless he went to meet all these trials keeping his gaze fixed on the Fathers's plan, with the certainty that the Father would raise him to life again.
Immediately after the resurrection we see Jesus appearing to his disciples, who had scattered, in order to comfort them and reassure them that he was alive and would be with them always. Forgetting their failings, Jesus revives hope in them. He turns these frightened men who are all concerned about the past and are preoccupied with their plans which seem to have collapsed completely, into men of hope, who are capable of looking to the future and of building the kingdom of God, supported solely by Jesus, with the strength of his resurrection.
`If God is for us, who is against us?'
How should we live this word of life? By being people of hope, This means not locking ourselves in our past, but going outside ourselves, entrusting everything to He who is able to fill every emptiness. Being people of hope means believing that the Gospel is possible, that good is stronger than evil and that no act of goodness will be without fruit; it means being convinced that tomorrow, built by God, will be more beautiful than today, and it means knowing how to subordinate our plans, which are always small, to the immense plans of God which he keeps hidden in his love.
The sort of excuses we sometimes offer: '1 don't feel up to it', 'I can't cope', 'you can't be brave on your own', 'God has forgotten me' — these excuses are of no value any more. There is God who has taken our side. There is God who died and rose again in order to give us back hope and to make us people who are able to communicate hope.