Year A: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Second Reading: Romans 11:13-15,29-32
Today is another of the happy coincidences where the continuous reading from the letters echoes the theme drawn out in the Gospel and First Reading.
It may be worth reading the section missed out from today’s selection.
St Paul is writing to the community of Christians in Rome. We cannot know what provoked this passage - but it may be that some of them were feeling rather superior to the Jewish people who had not believed in Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah.
St Paul is firm in rebuking them - using the word ”pagans” which - as they were now believers may have seemed harsh!
He reminds them that they had been richly blessed because of their faith - but their faith in God could only have come about because the Jewish people had been chosen to reveal the truth about God and to uphold His Covenant with them.
The fact that so many were unable to accept Jesus did not in any way diminish all that had gone before.
Like the olive rootstock mentioned in the missing section, they are the stock which has produced good fruit but which now seems to be worn out and unable to bear the fruit of the new Covenant. And so, the unfruitful branches are cut away and a new plant is grafted onto the old rootstock.
We are the new branches - and, as Jesus says in John 15, He is the vine - we are the branches - and the Jewish people are the rootstock.
St Paul’s hope is that, eventually, the Jewish people will come to see that Jesus is the Messiah. In the meantime, we are to remember that the faithfulness of the Jewish people to God paved the way for the coming of the Promised One - and led to the outpouring of eternal life into the world.
What does it mean for me?
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