Homily – July 18, 2021

In our second reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesian were recent converts to the faith but by accepting Christ this brought into the long history of the Jewish people’s relationship with God. He tells these new Christians that they are part of something very ancient. They were strangers to the covenant between God and the Jewish people; they had no hope without God in this world. But now in Christ Jesus they who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Christ is their peace, in his flesh he has made the circumcised – the Jews and the uncircumcised the Gentiles -into one and has broken down the dividing wall, the hostility between us. Through his passion and death Christ has created in himself one new humanity in place of two, making peace and reconciling both groups, Jews and Gentiles, to God, thru the cross.

This unity of Jews and Gentiles meant so much to Paul and his greatest grief was the inability of Jews to accept Jesus as the Christ, their longed for Messiah.

Paul was blessed with a deep and personal relationship with Christ. He would say, for me to live is Christ, Christ lives in me, the life I live I live it trusting in the son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. Yet Paul was willing to forgo that intense relationship if only his Jewish brothers and sisters would accept Jesus as the Messiah,

In his letter to the Romans he writes; I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own Jewish people, for to them belong the glory, the adoption,the covenant, the giving of the Law and from them comes the Messiah.

It is sad to read in our papers about acts of anti-Semitism here in our city, anti-Semitic slogans, swastikas’, painted on Jewish home and places of worship. These mindless acts of hurt are also hurled against our Moslem neighbours and friends. Dark deeds done in the darkness of night.

These are un-Christian acts done by people ignorant of our Jewish – Christian legacy. We are all spiritual Semites, all descendants of Abraham, our father in faith.

We do well to remember the words, the warning of Christ..Whatever you do to these brothers and sisters of mine, Jews, Moslems, you do to me.

It is a daily challenge to keep the great commandment, love one another, respect one another, accept one another, as I you.