January 18, 2022
by Scott McClure
Creighton University - Retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 312
Praying Ordinary Time

A man stands in the ocean, water up to his waist, small waves rippling behind him. In his mouth he holds part of a thin fishing net that he is casting out, arms in motion. His gaze is directed somewhere off-frame at an object known only to him. 

Described above is a photo taken by Creighton University's very own Don Doll, SJ. The photo, taken in 1968 in Belize, is for me a work of art that affected me by surprise and without justification from the moment I first saw it. It shows a moment in time and, for me, comes with so many questions born from the gaze of a man whose self and intent is admittedly unknown to me. Despite these unknowns, I imagine hope in his eyes and, accordingly, this photo is what came to mind when I read today's scripture. You see, typically it is the gospel passage or one of the readings that catches my attention more than the others. I was surprised when I gravitated toward today's Alleluia, particularly the following: that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call. 

In today's scripture, hope was essential for Samuel, allowing him to overcome his fear of Saul's wrath and embrace God's call. Hope in David's potential was also alive in his anointing - his calling. Indeed, hope is essential to being Jesus' companion. It makes what does not exist in the present exist for us in the future, even if we do not know when. It is what fuels our labor for a more loving and just world that is the hope of God, himself. At a more personal scope, hope makes us believe that who God wants us to be - fully ourselves - is indeed possible. 

Even at the moments most filled with darkness and despair, hope is there. Think about Jesus' companion, Peter. Peter denied Jesus not once, not twice, but three times in his hour of need. The anguish Peter must have felt at fulfilling what Jesus had foretold. Can you imagine? And yet, we know that even in that moment and even if Peter couldn't see it, hope was there - hope in God's limitless mercy and love. Hope in Peter's fulfillment of God's plan for him. 

Who is God calling you to be? Where is Jesus leading you? Despite the unknowns, proceed with hope. Because hope is already with you. Because God is already with you. 

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