Monday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 11:29-36; Luke 14:12-14)
Anti-Semitism has marred western civilization since the time of Christ. The polemic against the Pharisees and, to an extent, all Jews in the gospels is understandable. Jews had ejected Christians from synagogues where they prayed together. Although some Church Fathers wanted to protect Jews, others quite vehemently condemned them. The influential Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 mandated that Jews wear marks of identification which could not help but increase hateful discrimination. The Jewish list of grievances extends for volumes.
St. Paul certainly had a different perspective. He never forsook his Jewish heritage although, of course, he swore complete allegiance to Christ. In today’s passage from the Letter to the Romans Paul affirms that God’s election of Israel as His “Chosen People” cannot be undone. As unlikely as it may seem, he foresees the time when they too will become part of Christ’s fold.
With society becoming increasingly fractionated, we must be ready to stand up for all minorities. We should not allow prejudicial remarks against Blacks, Jews, and other traditionally slandered peoples go uncontested. Jesus was a Jew, but more importantly he suffered and died on behalf of all. If we really love him, we will defend the dignity of all human beings.