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Like Snow Upon The Desert

Between you and us there is fixed a great abyss, so that those who might wish to cross from here to you cannot do so, nor can anyone cross from your side to us
Luke 16:19-31

Sermon Topic Hope

Sermon Week Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 16:26


Today's Gospel Lesson is about a person whose way of life has entrapped him in a hopeless situation: a man without hope! In First Corinthians, St. Paul identifies "hope" as one of the three abiding gifts of Grace: "Faith, hope and love abide," he says.

Omar Khayyam (the poet who wrote the famous line, "A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou"), also wrote about hope:

The worldly hope that men set their hearts upon
turns to ashes or it prospers and, anon,
like snow upon the desert's dusty face
lighting a little hour or two, is gone.

That is a striking image, especially for those who know the desert and have seen the beauty of a snow blanket on its dusty face which, "in hour or two" will be gone. Omar Khayyam is saying that our hope is often like that. Many of us have experienced it in just that way. Something dreadful happens to us and well-intentioned friends who try to comfort us pronounce the usual cliches: "Don't give up hope . .. Where there's life, there's hope."

They may even wax poetic and quote Alexander Pope who said,

Hope springs eternal from the human breast ... hang in there!

(Pope didn't say the last part, but our friends do these days.) We are grateful for their good intentions, of course, but so very often the "hope" they are talking about turns out to be mere wishful thinking. And soon it "turns to ashes." Soon, "like snow upon the desert's dusty face ... it is gone."

In stark contrast to the wishful thinking that is so much a part of our lives today, the Gospel of Jesus Christ offers us an abiding hope.

There is a moving story about a young man from a middle class family who joined the General Motors Corporation. He had a real sense of how to advance in that company. He had to neglect his family, his friends and his health to do so, but to rise to the top in that company was just his thing-or so he thought. At [...]

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