Hear O Israel

Jews today often ask to not be called as witnesses to God, but Jews have a long tradition of witnessing to other Jews who did not wish to be witnessed to.

Moses proclaimed God to Israelites who did not want to be witnessed to. Before they crossed the Red Sea, the Israelites told Moses, “Is not this what we said to you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians.’ For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness” Ex 14:12. Even after God led them safely across, “The whole congregation of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and said to them, ‘Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt …’” Ex 16:2. Finally, as Moses led the Israelites to Mt. Sinai he cried out to God, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me” Ex 17:4. But Moses led them to Mt. Sinai and gave them the Torah.

All the Nevi’im, the Hebrew prophets — Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, and more, — spoke God’s truth to people who did not want to hear it. Isaiah: “Therefore my people go into exile for want of knowledge” Is 5:13. Jeremiah: “They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters” Jer 2:13. Ezekiel: “Set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them” Ezek 6:2 Hosea: “There is no faithfulness or kindness, and no knowledge of God in the land” Hos 4:1 And so across the centuries.

Rabbi Yeshua told the multitudes, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it happens” Lk 12:54. “And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and so it happens” Lk 12:55. The Mediterranean Sea lay to the west, and the low hot Negev Desert to the south, so these forecasts were apt to be accurate. Rabbi Yeshua was telling the multitudes to look up from their books and see that something extraordinary was occurring before their own eyes.

We stand with Israel! Rabbi Yeshua proclaimed the Holy Eucharist to an all-Jewish congregation in the synagogue at Capernaum. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” Jn 6:5356. They found it a “hard saying” Jn 6:60 and abandoned him, as he knew they would, but he taught it anyway. Rabbi Yeshua is the Catholic teacher par excellence. As he did, so we should do.

When we invite Jews into the Church we help them to be Jews, faithful to their eternal election. Jews today are broadly the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Some of them follow the Jewish religion of God and Torah, others do not, but the eternal election runs through the veins of every Hebrew who has ever lived. We use the term Hebrew because there were no Jews until Judah the son of Jacob started his tribe; Abraham was called a Hebrew Gen 14:13 during his lifetime.

Now let us turn to the Second Coming. The Catechism of the Catholic Church § 674 reminds us: “The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by all Israel.” Rabbi Paul wrote to the Romans, “I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob’; and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins” Rom 11:2527.

The Catholic Church has taught for two thousand years that Rabbi Yeshua so urgently wants Jews in his Church that his Second Coming will not occur until “all Israel,” the clear consensus of the world’s rabbis, recognizes him as God‘s Messiah.

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