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Fr. David's Lent Reflections Day 14

Day 14:

This is the 14th day of our Lenten journey, the Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas. God bless you as you travel the path to the Cross and to our Lord’s resurrection. Let’s look at the second part of today’s Sunday epistle reading, Hebrews 2:1-3.

Therefore we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For if the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him.

The letter to the Hebrews echoes the warnings of Isaiah. Hebrews was written to Jewish converts to Christianity who were living in Jerusalem. Persecution against Christians had made life very difficult for these converts, and many of them were returning to Judaism. Hebrews 4:14 - “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”

This is the message for us here at the end of the second week of Great Lent. We will not convert to another faith, nor will we fall into some other religion. But the message of Hebrews - and Isaiah - still applies to us. We must hold fast to our faith.

The word fast has three different meanings: 1) a time of abstinence, 2) rapid, and 3) difficult to move, as in “hold fast.” These three definitions are linked by a shared characteristic, consistency. We cannot say we’re fasting if we fast a little, then eat whatever we want, then fast again. We can’t say we’re fast if we run for a short distance, then stroll for a while, then run again. We can’t say our shelf holds fast to the wall if we put books on it and everything comes tumbling down on our heads. We must walk in the Spirit the way we walk any other way - establish a destination, then move toward that destination step by step. If we decide to walk somewhere and go in the opposite direction, what use is that?

As we prepare our hearts today to begin the third week of the Great Fast, brothers and sisters, let us set our minds to remain true to our calling. As the epistle to the Hebrews said: “we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”

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