Salvation is From the Jews

Feast of Saint Patrick

Salvation is from the Jews (Jn 4:22)

“Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:

‘The very stone which the builders rejected

has become the head of the corner;

this was the Lord’s doing,

and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.”

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. But when they tried to arrest him, they feared the multitudes, because they held him to be a prophet.  (Matthew 21:33-46 (RSV))

I really don’t have any quotes to post form the mediations today, but I did want to quote from today’s scripture reading, at least the gospel.

The Old Testament reading is about Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers.  We all know the story of Joseph:  sold into slavery by his brothers, goes to Egypt, tells Pharaoh what his dreams mean, becomes a high muckity-muck, and brings his father and family to Egypt to survive a coming drought.  Something evil happened — because men have free will and chose evil (the men here being his brothers) — and God used the evil to make something good (see CCC 312).

The New testament reading is even more fascinating when you look at the parable and its meaning.  The landowner is God, the vineyard is Israel.  The servants of the landowner sent to collect payment were the prophets.  Finally, God sent his Son, Jesus, and yet they still killed him.  But our salvation came from that heinous crime.

So many Christian denominations have issues with the Jews and believe that there is a supersessionism where Jesus and Christianity have superseded the Jews, and they are now an irrelevant religion.  That could not be further from the truth.  “Salvation is from the Jews,” Jesus said (Jn 4:22).  Christianity is nothin more than a branch grafted onto the olive tree that is Judaism.  Our existences are intertwined, and Christianity, without Judaism, would be a religion without a root.

For more information, see this article by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, the Declaration Nostrae Aetate, and the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium.

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