Acts 11:21b-26; 13:1-3
Consider the mystery of Yodh, the 10th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It is the one to which Jesus refers when he declares "…not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the Law until all things have taken place."
The "smallest letter" is Yodh. And "the smallest part of a letter" is the tiny decorative spur at the top of the Yodh.
Jesus spoke those words right after delivering his Beatitudes during his Sermon on the Mount. Whom did he proclaim the truly blessed?
Blessed are the poor in spirit; they who mourn; the meek; they who hunger and thirst for righteousness; the pure of heart; the peacemakers; the persecuted.
But this is crazy. This isn’t what the world views as blessed. What about the wealthy, the powerful, the mighty. Jesus turns those values upside down, to the astonishment of the crowd.
Therein lies the mystery of Yodh – and the mystery of discipleship.
Yodh, the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, hangs suspended in midair. After Jacob wrestled through the night with the Angel of God, the enigmatic visitor from heaven changed his name from Ya’akov to Yisrael. And all that remains of his former name for all eternity is the tiny Yodh. God chose Israel as his special people, not because they are great or mighty, but because they are the smallest of all the nations – just like Yodh.
So small, so insignificant is Yodh, and yet so special. The rabbis tell us that God gave to Yodh alone the honor of being the first letter of the Divine Name, YHWH.
Reflect on the mystery of tiny Yodh and the words of Jesus become clear. Not the smallest letter or even its decorative spur will ever disappear from the "God Breathed" Word until all is fulfilled. In fact when heaven and earth are replaced by a new heaven and earth, the Word of the Lord will have accomplished its purpose and will be fulfilled in every detail even to the very letter.
And the God who makes this promise is the same God who will never forget the poor, the hungry and the persecuted. On the contrary, they hold a special place in the Kingdom. Why? Because God delights in using the small, the weak, the insignificant to demonstrate his glory and power. The Law and the Prophets – all Scripture – find their perfect fulfillment in Jesus. And we, the weak, the broken and the struggling, stretching to embrace the seemingly unattainable Beatitudes, we too will find our perfect fulfillment in Jesus – just like Yodh.
Deacon Manuel Valencia is on the staff at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.