‘Hope is not some kind of delusional optimism to be resorted to because we simply cannot face the hard facts that threaten to swamp our hearts. People do die and leave us. Friends do desert us. Businesses do crumble and destroy us financially. Love does dry up and disappear. Careers do come to ruin. Disease does debilitate us. Evil does exist. But through it all, hope remains.’

~Niall Ahern

Life can be so unpredictable and uncertain. Like a gentle tide that lifts our boat it can also turn into a raging storm threatening to swamp us. Yet in the middle of every uncertainty, storm and darkness, there remains a sense of hope and optimism. That is why Easter is so important in the Christian calendar. It runs for 50 days and not just for a few days as many think it is. The long stretch of Easter is a reminder that despite everything, we are people of hope and optimism. This year Easter will end on Pentecost Sunday, May 15th.

But what do we mean by hope and optimism? They are empty and shallow if left on their own but in the context of a loving God, they are powerful and liberating. When all else seems to be gone, God will always be there and will never abandon or desert us. This is real hope and it is life giving. But in the world we live in today there is a loss of connection to faith matters, spirituality and religion. This loss is particularly felt when there is a crisis, emergency or a major stress in ones personal life. Our faith can help us through these difficult times, helping us to find courage and strength. We feel a flicker of light and hope present. It doesn’t have to be dazzling bright, but once it is there it can make all the difference. When there is no faith present, it can be much harder to deal with the challenges that life can throw at us. We pray to God today and during the coming days of Easter to help us through all the challenges of life. We pray that we will always remain hopeful, knowing that God is always on our side even when all seems lost.

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