"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)

30-Day Lockdown Retreat Journey: Faith is Hope (DAY 17)


Today is Day 17 of the 30-day whole community retreat in light of the lockdown.

If you are moved by the Spirit to continue dwelling on the prayer points the previous day, then follow the biddings of the Spirit. I gave more than enough Scriptural texts on Day 16 but remember to just choose that which speaks to you the most.

Point Of Departure:

First is a note about the difference between being optimistic and being hopeful. These two are very different. In October 2019, I was in a group of 27 retreatants, both Jesuits and lay collaborators, who made a silent retreat together. On the last day, our retreat master, Fr. Daniel Patrick Huang, SJ, gave us an input about the meaning of hope according to the German theologian J├╝rgen Moltmann. Pope Francis said "one should not confuse optimism with hope. Optimism is a psychological attitude toward life. Hope goes further than that... God is involved." (Pope Francis, His Life in His Own Words, Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio by Francesca Ambrogetti and Sergio Rubin, p. 230.)

If someone says, “I have lost ‘hope’.” I have to listen very carefully to that person and put in brackets first the statement “I have lost hope.” If what the person means by losing hope is not achieving his or her expectations, goals and dreams in life and, as a result, decides to give up, then I would know that that person is struggling from a lack or loss of optimism. The person suddenly realizes that he or she cannot do it anymore according to one’s own plan.

What is hope on the other hand? It is something that even if one says, “I can’t do it anymore…” there is still that trustworthy outlook of a positive future. I checked what people nowadays are searching on the web and went to Google’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). I saw top on the list, “When is this pandemic going to end?” But there is another on the list that I was so surprised to see. People are asking, "When is Easter coming?" I thought to myself maybe people just wanted know when Easter day is since it is a movable feast of the Church every year. Upon second thought, I was delighted and felt much hopeful that there are so many of us, despite the pandemic, who anticipate a positive future—the Resurrection.

I realized one does not need to believe in God to be an optimist. But optimism alone can no longer hold water especially when no one knows until when this situation will last. Moltmann calls it adventus—the coming of the gift that is totally new and positive that through human efforts alone it cannot happen. This Latin word is the meaning of Advent which serves as a preparatory season for the coming of the gift. It must come from outside of us which, given our situation, we could only expect to come from God—with trustworthy hope. It is far beyond just sheer optimism nor the expectation that our past and our present combined will result in a good future—futurum. It is the faith that no matter what comes, even if we still do not know, we will not end empty-handed. Pope Benedict XVI said in Spe Salvi, “Faith is hope.” He quotes the First Letter of Peter (3:15), “hope” is equivalent to “faith.” Only when the future, though it is still shrouded in uncertainty, is seen as “…a positive reality does it become possible to live the present as well” (SS 2).

Opening Song The Deer's Cry (Adaptation of St. Patrick's Lorica)

Grace To Beg For: To ask for what I desire... to grow in my faith and appreciation of the Holy Eucharist as Jesus' self-gift.

Word Of God: (See full text below from universalis.com)

1. John 21:1-14 (It is the Lord!)

Questions Or Considerations To Ponder:

"It is always shocking to meet life where we thought we were alone..., when the [fishing] line pulls at your hand, when something breathes beside you in the darkness... 'Look out!' we cry, 'it's alive!'... There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion ('man's search for God'!) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found us?" (C.S. Lewis, Miracles).

1. "Faith is a treasure of life, which is enriched by being shared." CCC 949
Find ways as small online chat groups to share about how you are these days.

2. "Christian liturgy not only recalls the events that saved us but actualizes them, makes them present. The Paschal mystery of Christ is celebrated, not repeated. It is the celebrations that are repeated, and in each celebration, there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that makes the unique mystery present." CCC 1104
Search for a recorded online Mass for today or last Sunday and celebrate.

3. In the Gospel story the Lord sees where the fishes are. What are the gifts that could be found now right in your midst? Look at the many frontliners who continue to be concrete symbols of hope. I received a very touching message written by the son of a Transplant Surgeon—he succumb to Acute Respiratory Failure brought about by Covid-19. I quote,
"...I choose to remember him like this. Not only as a statistic in the current war we are fighting. Not only as a surgeon who pioneered for the nation. Not only as a father for his family. But as a Citizen of The World who cared for it and fought for it. He will always be our hero." Let us pray together that with St. John we will be able to recognize constantly the self-gift of Jesus and exclaim "It is the Lord!"

Prayer Requests:
You can email request for prayers for the dead (Name—RIP) using 8thworkermercy@bloggercom—there is a DOT between 8thworker and mercy. It is restricted so that only me as blog author can read it. Others will NOT be able to read any email; instead they will get a message stating that this is private. We will offer your intentions during our regular 6:30AM Masses in our community of Jesuit priests and novices.

P.S. Feel free also to include the names of all who are sick (Name—Get well soon).

Fr. JM Manzano, SJ

John 21:1–14

Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish.

Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.