THE “SHEMA’S” CALL & FAITH’S IMPACT
First Reading: Deuteronomy 6:4-13
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 17(18):2-4,47,51
Gospel Reading: Matthew 17:14-20
Amidst the sacred pages of Deuteronomy, the resonance of faith juxtaposes with the significance of the Jewish “Shema,” forming an intrinsic connection in Judaism. Drawing inspiration from the readings, the Church invites us to embark on a journey to unravel the relationship between faith and breakthrough. Put in other words, the Jewish “Shema’s” resounding call to devotion and the gospel lesson unite to remind us of the influence that faith can exert in our spiritual lives.
The First Reading from the Book of Deuteronomy unveils the Jewish “Shema”: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one…” It is interesting to note that the Jewish “Shema,” a heartfelt declaration of belief, is strongly connected with faith’s power to bring about positive change. When recited, the “Shema” unites the spirit with ancient wisdom, which makes the individual foster conviction in a higher presence. Such faith moves one through challenges, and enables paths to breakthroughs. This bond between the Shema and faith nurtures hope and encourages the pursuit of positive outcomes. This devotion to a singular divine presence emanating from the “Shema” serves as an anchor in times of adversity, illustrating the strength that faith can provide.
The psalmist’s song illustrates to us a vivid portrayal of faith’s power to uplift and fortify. As a person seeks refuge in God, the imagery of a shield and fortress emerges – symbols of protection against life’s trials. The psalmist’s words convey the essence of faith as a source of strength, a wellspring of courage that empowers us to surmount challenges. Just as the “Shema” fosters tenacious belief, this psalm illustrates faith’s role as a durable bulwark against adversity.
The Gospel reading paints a portrait of faith as a catalyst for profound change. Through the narrative of a boy’s healing, we witness the radical potential of faith when embraced with conviction. Jesus’ words, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move,” underscore the potency of even the tiniest grain of faith. This teaching underscores how faith, like the Shema’s declaration, serves as a powerful agent of radical change, enabling breakthroughs that might have seemed insurmountable.
Dear friends in Christ, the interplay between the Jewish “Shema” and faith emerges as a guiding theme across these readings. The “Shema,” with its steadfast call to belief, reflects in the Psalms’ portrayal of God as a refuge and in the Gospel’s depiction of faith’s mountain-moving potential. As we reflect on these passages, may we embrace the teachings they offer – the significance of unyielding faith, its role as a source of strength, and its capacity to usher in breakthroughs. Just as the “Shema’s” words remains forever alive, may our faith resound as a resolute declaration, guiding us towards the radical breakthroughs that await.
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© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
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