Monday, November 4, 2019

Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, bishop

(Romans 11:29-36; Luke 14:12-14)

Since almost the beginning of Christianity, ignorant Christians have harassed Jews.  They have called Jews “Christ-killers” and persecuted some until death.  Such a vindictive spirit contradicts the New Testament as St. Paul explains in today’s first reading. 

The passage states that the call of God to the Jews to be His people is irrevocable.  In other words, despite what happened to Christ, God still claims the Jews as His own.  Paul sees God bringing Jews to righteousness in an unexpected way.  First, He uses the disobedience of Jewish authorities to justify Christians.  Those leaders plotted for Jesus’ crucifixion.  His death and resurrection then unleashed the Holy Spirit sending apostles to the corners of the world.  They converted the pagans to righteousness.  Finally, in Paul’s vision, Jews observing this wonder will seek conversion. 

Many Jews have converted to Christianity, especially in late antiquity.  Still, however, millions of Jews remain.  Are they somehow lost?  Judging by Paul’s criteria, one may think so.  But, as Paul also states, God’s ways are unsearchable.  We find among the Jews many who are both good and loving.  Who is to say that they are not saved?