Today’s First Reading begins with “a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem,” which forces the believers to move out of the area. They land in Samaria and bring “great joy in that city.” In the Gospel Jesus says to the crowd that no one will be rejected; all who believe will have eternal life. Both readings overflow with hope.

Christina Rosetti writes of hope: “While Hope, who never yet hath eyed the goal,/ With arms flung forth, and backward-floating hair,/ Touches, embraces, hugs the invisible.” When we face difficult times and despair rises faster than hope, try personifying hope. Picture hope (perhaps yourself) running with arms outstretched and hair flying backwards, as hope is just ahead. Let hope embrace you. No air hugs, please.

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