We continue this week with a reflection on our mission statement and this week the part that reads “offering hope to those who hunger for human dignity.” How does this play out here at St. Francis? First of all, the term “human dignity” is foundational to our understanding of the human person and the term is based on what we read at the very beginning of the book of Genesis, that “we are created in the image and likeness of God”(Genesis 1:27). If every person has something of the image of God in them, then what does that mean for how we care for one another? This is lived out in many ways here; our peace and justice ministries, our pastoral care ministries.

What does “offering hope” mean?  Is it only that everything will be OK? We know, of course, that sometimes everything does not seem to work out OK, that in our lives we encounter times of illness, job loss, broken relationships, loss.

And, so to offer hope has to mean something more and in our Christian tradition, “offering hope” means that, whatever might happen in life, that we are held by a loving and gracious God who never lets us go. This is the story of Jesus on the cross. On the cross, everything seemed lost for Jesus and he cried out for God the Father who seemed to have abandoned him. But he trusted, and Easter Sunday is the powerful message that, even when we encounter the cross in our lives, we are held by this loving God.  As modern followers of Jesus, this is our faith.

Thanks to all who have returned the parish survey, and we will keep you informed as to what we find. We begin this week the beautiful season of Advent. This also begins Year “B” in our liturgical calendar and it’s a year in which we will hear from the Gospel of Mark. Two books to recommend on Mark’s gospel, both by Bonnie Thurston: one is “The Spiritual Landscape of Mark” and the other is “Maverick Mark.”

Blessings on your week!

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