By Fr. Alex Radulescu - Today, we take a look at St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews 6:9-12:
“But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
In this section of his letter, the author calls his audience to a spiritual renewal. And why is the apostle concerned with the need for this kind of renewal? Let’s take a quick look at the context of the Letter to the Hebrews.
Seems like the audience, “the Hebrews,” were Greek-speaking Jewish Christians living in the region of Palestine. Its purpose was to encourage these Christians to persevere in the face of persecution. Some of them were considering reverting to Judaism in order to escape being persecuted for accepting Christ as the Son of God.
For this reason, this letter’s theme is to prove that Jesus is the long awaited Christ, the Anointed One, infinitely superior to the prophets, angels, Moses, and Aaron and other holy figures of the Old Testament. St. Paul calls for a renewal of the faith in Christ as the Son of God, the only Mediator between God and humanity.
Going back to chapter 6, St. Paul puts an emphasis on faith in action. The best proof of our faith in God is imitating his love through acts of charity: “God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints” (v. 10). The “saints” here refers to the Christians in general. This verse also makes a reference to the collection initiated for the Christians in Jerusalem who were suffering from famine and persecution. The author praises their efforts in helping one another in times of hardship. In spite of their apostasy (leaving the faith) and lukewarm faith, their charity was a good sign of improvement that will not be overlooked by God.
Brothers and sisters, our faith in Christ requires action, not just words or mental agreement. Our faith in Christ requires some work on our part. It takes action, it takes ministry to those impoverished, to the downtrodden, to those who are sick, and so on.
In these times of social distancing, the Church calls us to put our faith in action. Even if we are called to follow certain rules in order to limit the spread of this new virus, nothing can stop us from helping each other through prayer, a phone call, buying groceries for others, donating towards financial relief, and whatever is necessary now.
I will conclude with the words of St. Paul in verse 11: “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end.”