It's Advent, so we get to read Isaiah, which is always a delight. Today is no exception, with a simple poem about hope, hope in the "branch of Yahweh," hope for the far side of suffering, pain and perserverance. After all is said and done, what do we hope for? To live under the canopy over Mt. Zion.
Hope comes from faith. Without faith, how could we hope for such peace? So we have, from Matthew, the story of the faith of the centurion. Despite having read this so much that I could probably recite it from memory, upon re-reading this passage today, the sheer fullness of the centurion's faith stuck me like a whack in the head. When he gives orders, the centurion doesn't doubt for a second that they will be carried out. When he asks Jesus simply to say the word, he acts without a doubt. Without a doubt!
At one point this morning I am thinking, hope and faith...everything but charity. Does not charity, living and acting in the love of God, come as the end result of faith and hope? If our faith is strong and our hope firmly placed, how can we not live in charity?