The second of the two epistles given as readings for this Sunday, 1 Peter, says that by the resurrection of Christ we are reborn into a living hope. But what is hope? By faith a person believes in Christ, and by charity a person loves Christ. What is left for hope to do, once faith and charity have done their work?
The reading from Acts says that after the resurrection the disciples ate their meals with exultation. That is not how we normally eat our meals, is it? When we eat, we are often anxious or sad. We worry about our weight, the healthiness of our food, the eating habits of our children, the cost of the meal, the unfriendliness of those around the table, or any of the many other things that are part of the stress of our days. What could possibly bring a person to eat his dinner with exultation?
But consider this. How would dinner go for a person who learned that he had won the lottery? Before the lottery check has come, of course, he has no more money than he did before he won the lottery. At the time of his dinner, while he is still waiting for the check, he is as poor as he always was. But he has won the lottery! And the check is in the mail. In the expectation of that check, he will certainly eat his dinner in exultation.
In the midst of our poverty, our lack of holiness, our lack of loveliness, we are promised that when the Lord comes to meet us, we will be like him (1 John 3:2). Then we will have our heart’s desires, and we will be so lovely in the Lord that we will think we are dreaming (Ps 126:1). That day is one we still have to wait for. But we wait for it believing that the triumph won for us through Christ’s passion and death, brought home to us in Christ’s resurrection, that triumph is in the mail to us. We will think we must be dreaming then because the loveliness brought to us through Christ’s suffering and rising is so much greater than we could ever have imagined.
In the expectation of that triumphant loveliness, we can wait for that day with joy.And that waiting with joy is what hope is. Who would not exult in it?