My Dear Parishioners,
A few years ago there was a popular song whose first line many may recognize even today: What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the thing that there’s just too little of (lyrics by Hal David, 1965). While this is still true today, I would like to suggest that, based on our readings for today, we change the words of that song to: What the world needs now is hope, sweet hope. It's one thing that there’s just too little of. In today’s Responsorial Psalm we said: Happy are they who hope in the Lord. We also need faith and love, but our contemporary lives need hope, hope in Jesus Christ, more than ever.
In times of great need and in times of prosperity, we need hope. It may seem odd to need hope when things are
going well, but we see, time and time again in the New Testament that wealth can present us with its own
problems. Our Gospel today is a case in point. We get the idea that serving God and going after riches do not mix, and that it will not be easy for the wealthy to enter into heaven. And take notice of who is called blessed and who Jesus says woe to in the Gospel. It is the poor and the rejected, who will be blessed, and the rich and the popular who will be in need. This is definitely a different vision from what our popular culture and society give us.
What is so wrong with being rich and popular? What is so great about poverty and rejection? The difference is in where people place their hope. The poor know that in their need they must hope in the Lord. The rich can begin to believe that they, themselves, are the only source of their sufficiency. Have you ever noticed that many times those who have everything they need, yet almost nothing they want, seem happy? Compare them to those who have everything they want, yet nothing that they really need. Perhaps those who have only their needs met have already learned that prosperity is not all there is, and their hope is truly in the Lord.
Our hope, as well as our blessings, come from the Lord. All too often things can become our gods and lead us to hope in them, rather than in the Lord. We can easily place too much emphasis on the things of the earth,  rather than on the things of heaven, and our focus on God can become blurred. When we look at all we have, and then take a look at where most people’s priorities lie, we can be tempted to lose hope. Yet we know there is more, beyond the material. It is then that our hope soars and we look to the Lord for all that we could ever want or need. What the world needs now is hope, hope in the Lord!
God Bless, Msgr. Maresca