By Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Better than a Lottery

There is great excitement in the hockey world this morning, especially among Edmonton Oilers fans. Yesterday the team won the NHL draft lottery, thus enabling the Oilers to choose the top draft pick in June. All eyes are on one player in particular, one of immense talent, and the Oilers are widely expected to choose him. It is giving rise to great hope for the future prospects of the team.

"Great hope" is what is announced in the Gospel passages of the Easter season. It is hope related not to a particular group of people, but to all of humanity. Furthermore, its foundation is immeasurably more secure that those grounding NHL team prospects.

The hope is for eternal life, announced in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Its foundation is the love and fidelity of God, who has promised from of old to save his people from their sins and lead them to life with Him forever, a promise fulfilled in the dying and rising of Jesus.

On what foundation am I placing my hopes? It is an important question, because we all need hope as we face a myriad of challenges. Is it on chance? The NHL lottery is not the only one on which many people generally are pinning their hopes. Is it on someone else's giftedness? This would certainly be more reasonable than "luck", and yet we know from experience that talent is but for a time and that people are not always "at the top of their game".

The reason for real hope is not any of these things. It is within us. And by that I do not mean that we can rely upon ourselves. Quite the opposite. I am referring to the wondrous mystery of Christ living within us by the gift of his Holy Spirit! Our hope is Jesus, period. He remains with us, as he promised. By the act of faith, we draw strength and hope from the power of his Cross and Resurrection. In short, faith in Christ is the only reliable basis for the hope that brings peace in the midst of our many difficulties and challenges.