Thursday of the Octave of Easter
(Acts 3:11-26; Luke 24:35-48)
There are only about 15 million Jews in the whole world. The number is not growing much because Jews, often marrying outside their religion, do not raise their children to observe Jewish law. Jewish rabbis have asked their Catholic counterparts not to evangelize Jews at least in part because of their vulnerable number. Although Church leaders generally try to cultivate favorable relations with Jews, they have demurred on this point. The first reading today provides a Scriptural basis for this demurral.
Peter is preaching among the Jews in the Temple area. He says that Jesus fulfills the prophecies in Scripture of the Messiah. Further he gives as testimony the miraculous healing that was done in the name of Jesus. Eventually the preaching brings thousands of Jews to confess faith in Jesus although by no means the whole nation. In the end Christian preachers turn their efforts to non-Jews, but they never refuse in principle to accept Jews into the faith.
Christians must keep a positive concept of Jews in mind and heart. They are our elder brothers and sisters in the faith in the one God. Further, Jesus, Mary, Joseph and all the apostles were Jewish. We should pray for them as we do explicitly on Good Friday that they may keep their covenant with God.