The Hebrew alphabet contains twenty-two letters
>> Every letter in the Hebrew alphabet caries many special meanings.
The Tenth Letter of the Hebrew Alphabet is called as “Yod”.
>> It is represented as ‘
>> It has the sound of “Y” as in “Yes”.
There is an interesting Jewish legend about this letter “yod”.
In the book of Genesis 17:15, we read that God changed the name of Sarai to Sarah.
>> In Hebrew language, this was done by removing the ‘ (yod) from the end of her name.
However, the letter “Yod”, created a stir in heaven for having been dropped from Sarai’s name
>> It was continually fluttering around the throne of God, in restlessness!
So God decided to calm the letter “yod” by putting it at the beginning of Hoshea’s name.
>> This changed Hoshea to Joshua as we read in the book of Numbers 13:16.
(Interestingly, Joshua is the also the root word of Jehoshoa, from where the name “Jesus” comes)
But why are we discussing so much about this letter “Yod” in today’s reflection?
Jesus mentions about it, in today’s Gospel…
>> Jesus says, ” Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the SMALLEST LETTER or the SMALLEST PART OF THE LETTER will pass from the Law, until all things have taken place. ” (Mt 5: 18)
The SMALLEST LETTER refers to Hebrew letter “Yod”
>> It is the smallest letter of the Hebrew Alphabet.
The SMALLEST PART OF THE LETTER refers to the “thorn of the Yod”
>> It is just a small curve at the top of the letter, a light decoration on the letter “Yod”
Why was Jesus being so specific and particular in speaking about the Law?
>> What was Jesus meaning, by referring to the “tiniest” elements of the alphabet?
Jesus refers to the prime sanctity of God’s Word to His People.
>> This Word had now taken flesh (Jn 1: 14)
>> Jesus, the Word Incarnate, came to bring the Law to its fulfilment…not to undermine them.
>> Jesus, the Law personified, came to bring it to its perfection…not to do away with it.
While the Old Law could only show the mistake of the person…
…Jesus, the New Law would grant forgiveness and grace to the one who atones!
While the Old Law could only make the person to realise one’s faults…
…Jesus, the New Law would confer life and salvation to the one who repents!
When we consider the Gospel of St Matthew, we can consider the shift in emphasis:
Stage 1: In the initial part of the Gospel
>> Jesus says, “UNTIL HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS AWAY, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of the letter will pass from the LAW, until all things have taken place” (Mt 5: 18)
Stage 2: At the end of the Gospel
>> Jesus says, ” HEAVEN AND EARTH WILL PASS AWAY, but MY WORDS will not pass away” (Mt 24: 35)
There is a progressive shift in emphasis…
… from the LAW to the WORDS OF JESUS.
>> He is the perfection and the fulfilment of the Law!
This is the Divine Process of the unfolding of the plan of God’s Salvation for the world…
… finding its fulfilment and perfection in Jesus!
But this was not at the expense of the Old Law!
>> The Old Law is to be read, understood and practised, in the light of the New!
>> The New Law casts its illumining light on the Old, revealing life-giving messages!
As the classical saying goes:
” The New Testament is in the Old, concealed; the Old Testament is in the New, revealed”
What is the message for us, in this reflection?
>> The Great Power in the Promises of God in our life!
The Lord assures us, that none of His Promises will go unfulfilled in our life!
>> He guarantees that, He will bring His Word of Salvation to fulfilment in our life!
What is needed however…
… Our openness to trust and believe in His Word!
… Our willingness to make necessary changes, in the light of His Word!
… Our zeal and passion to make others to come to life, by sharing His Word!
The Lord assures us, with much emphasis:
“… GIVE HEED to the statutes and ordinances which I teach you, and do them; that YOU MAY LIVE…
KEEP THEM and DO THEM; for that will be YOUR WISDOM and YOUR UNDERSTANDING” ( Dt 4: 1, 6)
May we not be afraid to seek perfection in obeying the Law of the Lord and keeping His commandments…
>> Let us take courage to the fact that the Lord is with us, as a Loving Parent, gently encouraging us and patiently cheering us…
… to listen and obey, to even the “smallest” and the “tiniest” commands of His Holy Will!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ Some are tormented searching for the way to love God!
>> These poor souls do not know that there is no other method to love Him…
… apart from doing what pleases Him!”