Fr. Charlie O'Rourke
April 22, 2011

Yesterday I was in a hospital visiting a patient. As I walked the long hallways, there were patients on carts being pushed by nurses or attendants. And I thought to myself, all these good suffering people, no matter how trivial or critical they are; they are living in hope of recovering from their illness. And how important it is to have that hope, that desire for life. Without that yearning for life recovery would be virtually impossible.

With this thought in mind, I went into the room of the patient I came to see. She was near death but still aware and conscious. I greeted her and talked with her about being strong and grateful to God for the gifts God was sharing with her. But her reply was that she was afraid. “Afraid of facing God”, she said. Okay, I said but smile because you are on candid camera, God is looking at you right now and is with you at every moment. I told her that we don’t wait until we die to see God. God is with us at every moment of our lives. After a few quiet moments she answered,” that is so comforting to hear. I guess I wasn’t thinking along those lines.”

As we celebrate the feast of the Resurrection, one of the great gifts that our Lord has shared with us by his rising from the dead is the gift of hope. Hope to live in this world in spite of suffering, disappointments, betrayals or any other struggles that we might have to contend with. Jesus closest friends had lost all hope in Jesus promises as he died on the cross. It was only when he appeared to them that they were able to truly believe and trust in him. From then on their hearts were on fire, inspired by hope in a new life, a risen life with God.

Each year as we celebrate Easter we too have that desire to be renewed in our hope and trust in God in spite of all our attachments, perhaps hatred, or negative things that deter us in our relationship with God. It is important that we acknowledge these imperfections and flaws of our life. Once we do that, we can open our hearts to God and thereby appreciate the presence of God in our life like the disciples did on Easter Sunday morning.

My prayer is that I may be a true witness to God in all that I do and all that I am; that I may be an instrument that God may use to show peace, love, and reconciliation to the world.