Little Signs of Hope
“Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign.” Isaiah 7:14
Last week I visited Saint Anthony Church in the northeast part of Kansas City for the celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Following a procession along the street and through the local park, the dancing of Las Mañanitas, the re-enactment of the beautiful story of the appearance of Our Lady to Saint Juan Diego in 1531, and the joyful celebration of Mass, I met with many of the faithful as they departed the packed church.
Like most of our parishes with a sizable Latino population, there were an abundance of children. Parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, with children in tow, sought blessings and prayers for their families. And notably, I was struck by how many pregnant mothers approached, not so much seeking blessings for themselves, but for the babies they were carrying. It brought to mind the words of Isaiah which are so tied to these last days of Advent, in which the prophet points to a special “sign” from God, a virgin with child, as the sign which will give the world a new hope.
Of course, the sign of Isaiah is fulfilled in the Blessed Virgin Mary and her child, Jesus. He is our great hope, and he first appeared to us in Mary as a baby in the womb. The joy that this hope brings was expressed by another unborn child, Saint John the Baptist, when he leapt in the womb of his mother, Saint Elizabeth. How appropriate that God would bring the world hope through a pregnancy.
The pregnant mothers who approached me for blessings also are, in their own way, little signs of hope. A pregnancy, a baby in the womb, is a sign that there is a future. That another person, a unique gift of God, is arriving. Where does hope come from after all? It comes from promises that we look forward to being fulfilled. That life has a purpose and is good and worth living. That, ultimately, we are loved and known and wanted. All the more reason that we always find ways to support pregnant moms in some form of crisis, more specifically as, surrounding the March 25 Feast of the Annunciation, we in the diocese will engage in a national Walking with Moms in Need: a year of service, March 2020-2021.
How fitting that God arrived as a baby! Babies point to the future as little signs of hope.
+James V. Johnston, Jr.
Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Catholic Key, December 20, 2019 issue
Pope Francis’ December Prayer Intention
That every country take the measures necessary to prioritize the future of the very young, especially those who are suffering.
Bishop Johnston’s December Prayer Intention
For those with challenging physical disabilities.