Hope or Optimism?

Our readings for Mass on this sixth Sunday of Easter invite us to a deep inner reflection on what informs the way we live our lives each day.  We must ask ourselves what or who is our guide, what gives us reason to hope?

These two words hope and optimism can often be thought of as meaning the same – in fact if we look deeper into their meaning we see that their meanings are somewhat different.  Optimism the dictionary tells us means -seeing the positive side of things, expecting things to turn out well.  Optimists believe they have the skill and ability to make good things happen. If we look up the word hope it means – a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. So we see the subtle difference between the two words. To be an optimist is to believe that I alone can make good things happen whereas to be hopeful is to desire the good and to desire suggests that it is not just about me, there something more. 

Today the readings offer us an insight into the something more – the presence of God in our hearts, our minds, in our very being guiding us each day.  This gift of God is the promised Holy Spirit, the Advocate, the Comforter, the Paraclete who will fill us with light and strength if we are open to receive these gifts which will give us reason to hope and to believe in the goodness of God at work in our lives.

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