It Is Not Difficult to Believe
but to Persevere in the Faith
There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
Also watch the Bible Study Session held in Epiphany Parish, Mui Wo by Fr. Alberto Rossa: https://youtu.be/jAYNHzp1y5c
Israel has experienced the faithfulness of his God. For him, Israel coined the term hesed we ’emet that occurs frequently in the Bible and which can be translated as: faithful in love. When the Lord stipulates an alliance he is faithful to it, even if the other party betrays its commitments. When He makes a promise, he never misses a word.
Paul was deeply convinced of it: “The faithful God who has called” (1 Cor 1:9); “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim 2:13) and, recalling the unfaithfulness of Israel, he says: “Will their unfaithfulness do away with the faithfulness of God? Of course not” (Rom 3:3-4).
But will people ever match this love?
The Bible speaks of the hasidim (the faithful: from hesed, loyal). Even before Christ, a group of pious and virtuous men—who were given this name—were meant to embody the loyal, law-abiding Israelite, willing even to be martyrs rather than betray their faith. This spiritual power has remained to this day in the Jewish people. Here is what one of these hasidim has written in front of the gas chamber: “God of Israel, you have made the possible so that I would not believe in you. If you thought of being able to divert me from my way, well I’ll tell you, my God, the God of my fathers, you will not succeed. You can hit me, take away from me whatever is precious and dear I have on earth, you can torment me to death, but I will always believe in you. I’ll love you forever. I die as I have lived, firmly believing in you.”
When the wind of test blows “the lamp of the godless is extinguished, the light of the virtuous is bright” (Pro 13:9).
To internalize the message, we repeat:
“Grant, O Lord, that on the last day, I can repeat, like Paul, ‘I have finished my course, I have kept myself faithful.’”