Faithfulness

Beloved:
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David:
such is my gospel, for which I am suffering,
even to the point of chains, like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen,
so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, 
together with eternal glory.
This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.
(2 Timothy 2:8-13)   

Scripture Study

2:8 Remember Jesus: Christ is the center of Paul’s gospel. Through his natural birth in the line of King David and his miraculous rebirth in the Resurrection, the Jesus that Paul preaches is none other than the Messiah (CCC 436–37). ● In Paul’s mind, Jesus fulfills God’s covenant oath to raise up the Messiah from David’s descendants and enthrone him over an eternal kingdom (2 Sam 7:12–16; Ps 89:3–4; 110:1; Lk 1:32–33).

2:9 the word … not chained: Paul himself is shackled in prison, but his saving message continues to spread through trustworthy preachers such as Timothy. In this context, the “word of God” is equivalent to the gospel proclaimed by word of mouth (1 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:25).

2:10 eternal glory: Everlasting life in heaven, where the saints enter the fullness of their inheritance (Mt 25:34; Col 3:23–24).

2:11–13 Possibly an excerpt from an ancient Christian hymn (CCC 2641). It sets forth in conditional propositions the blessings and curses that await us at the Judgment: those who persevere in faith will live and reign with Christ, but those who deny him will be disowned and disgraced in the end. Our ultimate certainty is that Christ will follow through on his promises and threats and so exercise his justice and mercy in perfect faithfulness to the terms of the New Covenant. Several of these statements echo Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels (Mt 25:31–46; Mk 8:38; 13:13).

2:11 If we have died: Refers (1) to Baptism, where we die to sin and are filled with new life (Rom 6:2–4; CCC 1262–64), (2) to the Christian life, where we struggle with God’s help to put to death our selfish and sinful inclinations (Rom 8:13), and (3) to death itself, which admits us into the presence of Christ our Judge (Phil 1:21) (CCC 1010).[1]

Reflection

If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful.”

The act of faith is more than merely an act of belief. We believe many things—for example, that the Rangers will still beat the Blue Jays, that a sunrise is beautiful, that cauliflower really taste better than it smells – but we are not willing to die for these beliefs, nor can we live them every moment.

Faith begins in that obscure mysterious center of our being that Scripture calls the “heart.” Heart in Scripture does not mean feeling or sentiment or emotion, but the absolute center of the soul, as the physical heart is at the center of the body. The heart is where God the Holy Spirit works in us.

“Keep your heart with all vigilance,” advised Solomon, “for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov 4:23). With the heart we choose our “fundamental option” of faithfulness to God, and thereby determine our eternal identity and destiny.[2]

 

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church
[1] The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 398.[2] Adapted from Kreeft and Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics