Hope: the answer to disappointment

| Jeff Hedglen | January 6, 2016 | 0 Comments

Years ago, I quit reading the comic strip “Ziggy” because it is so pessimistic and I did not want to allow so much negativity in my life. But before I quit reading it, there was one particular bit of his signature cynical wisdom that had a ring of truth: “If you are continually disappointed, lower your expectations.” See what I mean? It’s kind of pessimistic, but there is some truth to the statement.

This was brought to my mind at a recent young adult ministry series called Theology on Tap. The presenter, Andrew Gill, talked about how our faith calls us to live a healthy lifestyle, and asked a series of questions: Do you often have expectations? Do they tend to lead to disappointment? Does this sometimes lead to resentment?

He went on to say there is a better option: hope. He said, “Hope is different than expectation. Hope leads to acceptance, and that leads to care.”

The lessons from both “Ziggy” and this Theology On Tap discussion came rushing back to me when reading this week’s Gospel, which starts out, “The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ.”

As it turns out, their expectation of John being the anointed one was not realized. I am not sure if they were disappointed or not to find out that it was actually John’s cousin who was the Messiah.

Their expectations were born of a centuries-long hope that was valiantly held by God’s chosen people: the hope for the promised Messiah.

Hope is one of the three theological virtues: faith, hope and love. Hope is not something we can conjure up; it is a gift from God. So when we find ourselves disappointed by unmet expectations, maybe instead of turning this into resentment, we can turn instead to Jesus and ask for a dose of hope, for hope does not disappoint.

This Catholic News Service column is offered in cooperation with the North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.

Sunday, Jan. 10
Baptism of the Lord


  • Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
  • Acts 10:34-38
  • Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

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Category: Sunday Scriptures