In the letter of Paul the apostle to the Romans, the biblical image pictures the Earth as a Mother, groaning as in childbirth (Rom 8:22). Francis of Assisi understood this when he referred to the Earth as our sister and our mother in his Canticle of Creatures. The times we live in show that we are not relating to the Earth as a gift from our Creator, but rather as a resource to be used.
And yet, there is hope and the expectation for a better future. To hope in a biblical context does not mean to stand still and quiet, but rather groaning, crying, and actively striving for new life amidst the struggles. Just as in childbirth, we go through a period of intense pain, but new life springs forth.
The symbol for 2024 is
The firstfruits of hope
Hope is an instrument enabling us to overcome the natural law of decay. Hope is given to us by God as a protection and guard against futility. Only through hope we may realize the gift of freedom in fullness. Freedom to act not only to achieve enjoyment and prosperity, but to reach the stage in which we are free and responsible. Freedom and responsibility enable us to make the world a better place. Only when we work together with Creation can the firstfruits of hope emerge.
To delve deeper into the theological reflection that guides the 2024 theme and symbol, find more information here.
Post expires on April 5th, 2024