In today’s reading from the Letter to the Romans, St. Paul reveals something about his motivation in preaching to the Gentiles; namely, he thought that his Jewish countrymen would become so jealous of the fact that the Gentiles were being accepted by those who placed their faith in Jesus that they would relent in their refusal to accept Jesus as the Messiah. As we all know, it didn’t work out that way. This truly saddens St. Paul.
However, he is able to find the silver lining in this cloud. Their refusal to accept Jesus has in fact fueled his efforts to bring Christ to the Gentiles. When he realized that his original motivation – that of creating jealousy among the Jews – had failed, he realized that perhaps they could be saved once all the Gentiles had come into the fold of Christianity. Relying on prophecy from the Hebrew Scriptures, he reasoned that once the whole world had come to accept Jesus, it would literally drag in the Jews as well.
Ever since those first days after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, we have been busy at bringing the Good News to the world. It is at the heart of the Church’s mission. We are to make Jesus known through the example of our lives. Our universal call to holiness demands that we share our faith with others. Our covenant with God is not something that is simply between God and me. The very act of worship is a matter of communion, a word that means nothing unless it involves others. Our reception of the Eucharist is both personal and communal. If we ignore one, the other becomes meaningless.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator