Love Israel and the Jewish People
It is Pesach. Passover.
My Jewish friends are ready. Their homes are cleaned. Their hearts are there. Centered on the story of Moses.
The lamb. The spices. The unleavened bread. The memorial of blood on the door frame and an angel of death passing over.
The fleeing from slavery. The deliverance through the desert and into a Promised Land.
I am not Jewish. I am Catholic.
It is Saturday, and in one week, we will be preparing for Easter Vigil.
The Lamb. The unleavened Bread. The Precious Blood. Our souls cleaned through Confession. Our hearts there. Centered on the story.
Fleeing the days in the desert. Ready to receive the Promised One. Death giving way to the Lord of Life.
Our Jewish Lord. Son of David. Son of God.
The readings today make me feel the rush of time, the roll of events, the gathering together of prophecy and the reality of Old Covenant and New Covenant.
There is a trend today to focus only on the New. See Israel only in the New Israel. See the New and jettison the Old.
But God does not revoke His promises. He never jettisons His own Covenant.
Today’s prophecy tells of a nation that gathers in her children, scattered throughout the world. Just watch Against All Odds, a documentary by Michael Greenspan, and it is easy to see the fulfillment of the prophecy.
From 100+ nations, they came. After 2,000 years of exile, they returned. A dead language was reborn. And today, right now, Passover is observed in the Land that was a gift from God after slavery and wandering and total reliance upon God’s provision.
The Readings today predicted this. And we are told that, at the end of the age, the Jewish people will see the Messiah. And know it is He.
This One they pray for every day. This One promised to them, by way of David’s line, they will see it is the Christ.
The question that haunts me, the thought I cannot turn from, is this:
How will they ever see Jesus as the Messiah if we, faithful Catholics, do not renew our love for the Jewish people and reclaim our commitment to tell the stories of the Old as well as the New to our children and to the world?
They are our matriarchs and patriarchs.
Yet the world has become more and more anti-Semitic.
We must not join the world.
The Jewish people gave birth to the Blessed Mother. She is Daughter Zion. Her Son is Our Lord. She is Our Lady.
Does not honoring our Father (God) and our Mother (Mary) necessitate a remembering of the Jewish people on our part? Does it not require of us a love and rediscovery of the common ground we share?
Do we love the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as we do the stories of the New Covenant?
Do we retell the stories of Sarah, Rebekah, Leah and Rachel? Do we remember the lineage of Jesus as well as the papal list?
Do we burn with a desire to share their Messiah with them? To tell them thank you for the greatest gift we have?
Or do we only see Israel today through the eyes of a growing anti-Semitic culture? Through policies or political ideology?
How will the prophecy be fulfilled if we, the Church, do not turn with massive amounts of love and gratitude toward them?
Now is a very good time. Passover. Holy Week.
The Jewish people are not our enemy. They are our matriarchs and patriarchs.
Amen. And Amen.