Walking along the road, you may be fortunate to see a snowdrop pushing up through the cold, wintry ground. These small but sturdy flowers are a sign that winter will soon come to an end. The snowdrop reaches out with new life, a sign of hope when all else seems lifeless. Sometimes a small sign of hope is all that is needed to keep us going when times are difficult and the world seems dark, like a dreary, winter’s day.
Of course, the snowdrops return each winter, but they are always a surprise. We forget that the snowdrop is quietly waiting for the right moment to show its encouraging flower. Likewise we often forget that Jesus is always close to us, ready to bring us hope and encouragement when those difficult moments arise. If we forget how close Jesus is to us, then we can be sure that there are many others whom we know, who also forget that God is always with them. So as ‘Proclaimers of the Good News’, let us remind them, let us show them how through our daily lives faith in Jesus Christ gives hope and joy. And when the moment is right maybe we can share some quiet words of encouragement, such as those from Pope Francis who reminds us that: “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.”
These moments that give new hope are opportunities to refresh our faith – even evangelisers need encouragement; and maybe to renew the faith of those whose faith has been forgotten or discarded, or lies dormant like the trees in winter, which stand bare and lifeless. There is always so much more for us to discover about Jesus, and for us to share with others so that they too can rediscover him, bringing their faith to life once again.
Many parishes were fortunate over Christmas to be able to give out free copies of ‘Rediscover Jesus’ by Matthew Kelly. This easy-to-read book leads us on a journey of ‘rediscovery’. It can help us to consider where Jesus fits into our life, and can give us confidence in leading others to a fulfilling life through Jesus. If your parish has distributed ‘Rediscover Jesus’, then perhaps set aside few minutes each day to read it. Maybe talk about it with your friends or in a small group. Knowing Jesus is a journey of constant discovery, and we will each be at a different stage of that journey, but wherever we are we are never alone, others will be journeying with us too; and, even if we sometimes forget him, we can be sure that Jesus is also always close by.
Like the snowdrop which encourages us to look towards spring, there are moments when we need signs of hope, and need to be a sign of hope. Through the coming year let us make the most of those moments that enable to us to grow in our faith and to share it, so that we and others can ‘rediscover’ Jesus as if for the first time.
Deacon Adrian Cullen