Scripture: Jan 28. Lectionary # 321: Hebrews 10:32-39. Psalm
37:3-4.5-6.23-24. 39-40. Mark 4:26-34
Whenever we hear the word “just” or “righteousness” proclaimed from the
Gospel, we are to think of our universal call to holiness. Vatican II, in
its Constitution on the Church, invites each of us to be holy persons not
in a pious manner or with saccarine devotions but men and women of faith.
We are to be strong in our faith (Fortes in Fide). Often we hear at Masses
for Christian Burial the following: “The souls of the just are in the hands
of God.” We easily can think of our own ancestors who fulfilled that call
to holiness and are now literally in the arms of God’s love in heaven. We
call to mind that Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, and Zacharia were just and
righteous persons. We learn from the Epistle of St. Peter that we are a
holy and priestly people a nation set apart for the Lord.
The Epistle to the Hebrews continues such encouragment to be holy, that is,
righteous and just. In today’s reading we learn that the “just one” lives
by faith–a theme taken from the prophet Habakkuk. It is also found in
Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and encourages us to have strong faith, a
faith of the heart. Romans 4 has the citation from Habakkuk and chapter ten
of Romans helps us to understand what “faith of the heart” is.
Blessed William Joseph Chaminade who was beatified on September 3, 2000
together with Abbot Marmion and Pope John XXIII advocated “faith of the
heart” as essential to his Marianist Family in its many branches of vowed
and lay people. This year is the 250th anniversary of his birth (he died
Jan.22, 1850). He wanted all of his followers to be “strong in
faith” (Fortes in Fide). And as the last line from Hebrews says today we
are to be “among those who have faith and live.” (Hebrews 10:39).
Our Psalm Response can act as a short prayer that springs from faith of the
heart: “The salvation of the “just” comes from the Lord…for the hand of
the Lord sustains us.” Amen.