Hope keeps peoples’ dreams alive during this time of pandemic as they continue to live through daily joys and disappointments. People long for schools to open, the vaccine to be administered, to go on holidays, go to Mass, to receive the sacraments, to attend a funeral or wedding, to have a child baptised, to play sports, go to theatre, cinema and 1001 more places. Hope is key to life. It is yet another gift from God.
The first reading proclaimed at Mass from Hebrews (Hebrews 10:19-25), today during the celebration of Catholic Schools Week (24-31 January 2021) instructs God’s people, ‘to keep firm in the faith we profess.’ God gives God’s people hope in the person of Jesus and they trust that ‘the one who made the promise is always faithful.’
The Church celebrates the memorial of St Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican priest. He influenced Church doctrine as a writer, a teacher of philosophy and theology. In one of his conferences he wrote about the crucifix, the cross on which Jesus died. This teaching is relevant for Catholic Schools Week as each Catholic School and classroom displays a crucifix.
St Thomas taught that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. He also invited people to look at the crucifix and reflect on what Jesus taught us from his experience. St Thomas Aquinas explains that Jesus showed charity by giving his life in love as a sacrifice to save us from our sins. Jesus showed patience when he didn’t complain about his suffering. Jesus showed he was humble when he willed to be judged by Pontius Pilate and to die. Jesus showed obedience by doing what God asked him to do. Jesus gave up his life on earth and all material things, even he was stripped of his clothes, as he suffered on the road to Calvary and finally his crucifixion on Good Friday
However, Christians believe that Good Friday is not the end. On Easter Sunday Jesus rose to new life in the Resurrection. The Resurrection is our hope that Jesus is alive and present among us.
In Catholic Schools Week the communities of family, parish and school celebrate the hope that God gives us in Jesus. God’s people show gratitude by praying with thanks for this great gift of hope. We can make hope alive every day when we think of the great things God has done for us. We thank God. That is what Mary, the Mother of God did. Mary prayed the Magnificat, a song of praise in which she says, ‘The Almighty has done great things for me, Holy is his name.’
Today God’s people carry their crosses of anxiety, sickness, bereavement and suffering. Their hope is that they are not alone in their suffering. Jesus understands and is with them always.
VERITAS publications provide all the Grow in Love/ I nGrá Dé resources online including the Children’s Grow in Love/ I nGrá Dé e-book
- Pray the Act of Hope (Grow in Love Sixth Class/ I nGrá Dé Rang a Sé e-leabhar)
- Find out more about St Thomas Aquinas’ life
- Check out your Grow in Love/ I nGrá Dé e-leabhar for the story of the Resurrection
- Take two strips of paper and make a cross. Write the words patience, love, obedience and humility. Colour the cross using your favourite colours. Hang it on the fridge or where the family can see it.
Sr Anne Neylon