February 25, 2024

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

As we continue our Lenten Journey of the Heart to Keep Jesus in the Center, today’s readings help us focus in on the theme of faithfulness.

Today’s first reading shows us the faithfulness of a father to God. God puts Abraham to the test by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Can you imagine what that would have been like?  Abraham and his wife Sarah had no children. They waited and waited and finally God blessed them with the gift of Isaac. Then God wanted Abraham to give Isaac back—to offer Isaac in sacrifice. But Abraham is faithful. He does what God commands.  God sees that faithfulness and rewards it. Isaac is saved. And God makes a covenant with Abraham. Because Abraham was faithful to God’s commands, God promises to make Abraham’s descendants “as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore.” Faithfulness comes with many challenges. But it comes with many more graces and blessings.

Today’s gospel shows us the faithfulness of a son—the Divine Son—to God. In the account of the Transfiguration, God identifies Jesus as His beloved Son.  God the Son was faithful to God the Father.  He was faithful in humbling Himself to share in our humanity.  He was faithful when the Devil tempted Him in the desert. He was faithful in the Garden of Gethsemane saying: “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet, not as I will, but as You will.” Faithfulness!

God models faithfulness. Today’s second reading reminds us of that.  Saint Paul says: “If God is for us, who can be against us.” God is always faithful to us. God’s faithfulness is greater than we could ever imagine or dream. He is faithful to His covenant with us. Faithful in loving us.  Faithful in forgiving us. Faithful in protecting us. Faithful in carrying out His plan for us.

God’s faithfulness compels us to be faithful. How is our faithfulness?  Like anything that is important to do, discipleship is not always easy.  But we need to keep on trying and working at it. We can’t give up when we stumble or fail in our discipleship. Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta said, “God does not require that we be successful, only that we be faithful”.  Being faithful means that we keep on trying.

As we continue the Journey of the Heart to Keep Jesus at the Center of all that we are, let us focus on faithfulness in our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  If we have not been quite as successful in them as we had hoped to be, let’s not give up on them or ourselves.  May we be faithful in making them faith-filled.

Love, grace, and peace,

Father Neil Sullivan