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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Thursday, April 26, 2018

P. NITOGLIA: THE REPROVAL OF ISRAEL ACCORDING TO THE PARAGRAPHS OF THE GOSPEL OF SAN MATEO READS TO THE LIGHT OF THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS

P. NITOGLIA: THE REPROVAL OF ISRAEL ACCORDING TO THE PARAGRAPHS OF THE GOSPEL OF SAN MATEO READS TO THE LIGHT OF THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS

In the first part of the article we have seen that, according to Father Severiano del Páramo, Saint Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (XI, 5 ff.) Seems to make a true and proper comment about these parables of Christ reported by Saint Matthew (Commentary on the Gospel according to Matthew, cit., pp. 324). Now let's see what St. Paul reveals, divinely inspired, trying to understand its meaning with the help of St. Thomas Aquinas's Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans.


 

I The text of Saint Paul


1.       Epistle to the Romans (IX, 1-33)


1 I say true in Christ, my conscience testifying in the Holy Spirit, that I am not lying: 2 I feel great sadness and continuous pain in my heart. 3 For I would like to be anathema to Christ for my brothers, my dear friends according to the flesh , 4 the Israelites, of whom is the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the worship and the promises; 5 Whose are the fathers, and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ descends, which is above all things, God blessed for ever. Amen. 6 It is not that the word of God has been without effect; because not all those who descend from Israel, are Israel ; 7 nor by the fact of being of the lineage of Abraham, are all children ; but " in Isaac your descendants will be called ." 8 That is , not that the children of the flesh are children of God, but that the children of the promise are those considered as offspring. 9 For this was the word of the promise: " For this time I will return, and Sarah will have a son ." 10 And so it happened not only with Sarah, but also with Rebekah, who conceived of one only, of Isaac our Father. 11 For they were not yet born (the children of her), neither having done any good or bad thing-that God's plan might be fulfilled, according to his election, not by virtue of works but by Him who calls-12 it was said to her: " The eldest shall serve the minor "; 13 as it is written: "I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau ." 14 What shall we say, then? What is there injustice on God's part? No way. 15 For He says to Moses, " I will have mercy on whom I want to have mercy, and I will take pity on Whom I want to pity me ." 16 So it is not the work of the one who wants, nor of the one who runs, but of God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, " For this very reason I raised you up: to show you my power and to proclaim my name in all the earth ." 18 So he has mercy on whom he wants; and whoever wants it, hardens it. 19 But you will say to me: And why then does he rebuke? For who can resist the will of Him? 20 Oh, man, who are you asking God for? Perhaps the glass will tell the one who modeled it: "Why did you do this to me ?" 21 Or is it that the potter has no right over the clay to make of the same mass one vessel for honor and another for base use? 22 What, then, if God, wanting to manifest his wrath and make known his power, suffered with great long-suffering the vessels of wrath, destined for perdition, 23 in order to manifest the riches of his glory in the vessels of mercy, He prepared in advance for glory, 24 namely, we, whom He called, not only among the Jews, but also among the Gentiles? 25 As he also says in Hosea, " I will call my people who are not my people, and those who are not loved ." 26 And it will come about that in the place where they were told: You are not my people , right there you will be called sons of God. 27 Isaiah also cries out about Israel: "Even if the number of the children of Israel is like the sands of the sea, only a remnant will be saved ; 28 for the Lord will do his work on the earth by finishing and cutting off . " 29 Isaiah himself had already said:" Unless the Lord of armies had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom and likened to Gomorrah . " 30 What shall we say in conclusion, that the Gentiles, who did not walk after righteousness, came to righteousness, to righteousness born of faith, 31 but Israel, who followed the Law of righteousness, did not come to the righteousness? Law 32 Why? Because he did not seek it by faith, but by works, they have stumbled on the stone of scandal, 33 as it is written: Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone, and a stone of scandal; everyone who believes in Him will not be confused.

2.       Epistle to the Romans (XI, 1-32)


1 Then I asked: Has God rejected his people ? No, certainly , since I am also an Israelite, of the lineage of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people , whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says about Elijah? How he argues with God against Israel: 3 " Lord, they have killed your prophets, destroyed your altars, and I am alone, and they seek my life . " 4 But what does the divine response tell him? "I have reserved myself, I have seven thousand men, who have not bowed their knees before Baal ." 5 So also in the present time there is a remainder according to free choice. 6 And if it is by grace, it is no longer by works; otherwise grace would cease to be grace. 7 What, then? That what Israel seeks, that did not reach it; but the elect reached it, while the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written: " God gave them a stunned spirit, eyes to see not, and ears not to hear, to this day ." 9 And David says, " Let your table become a snare and a snare, a stumbling block and a just reward : 10 let your eyes grow dark so that they will not see, and bend them to you, always your back ." 11 Now I say: Did they stumble to make them fall ? Not that; but by the fall of them came health to the Gentiles to excite them (the Jews) to emulation . 12 And if their fall has become the wealth of the world, and their diminution the wealth of the Gentiles, how much more is their fullness? 13To you, then, the Gentiles, I say -as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I honor my ministry- 14 just in case I can provoke to jealousy those of my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if his repudiation is reconciliation of the world, what will his readmission be but life from among the dead? 16 That if the first fruits are holy, so is the dough; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being an olive tree, have been swallowed in them, and partook with them of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 you did not enrage yourself against the branches; that if you swell (know that), it is not you who hold the root, but the root to you . 19But you will say: Such branches were broken off so that I could be grafted. 20 Well, they were broken off because of their unbelief, and you, by faith, are standing. More you do not get angry, before you fear . 21 That if God did not forgive the natural branches, neither will he forgive you. 22 Consider, then, the goodness and severity of God: to those who fell, severity; but for you, the goodness of God, if you remain in that goodness; otherwise, you too will be cut off . 23 And as for them, if they do not remain in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them again. 24 For if you were cut off from what was by nature wild olive, and against grafted nature in the good olive tree, how much more will they, who are the natural branches, be grafted into the olive tree itself? 25 I do not want you to ignore this mystery, brethren, lest you be wise in your eyes: the hardening has come upon a part of Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has entered; 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved; as it is written, " The Deliverer shall come from Zion, He shall turn away iniquity from Jacob, 27 and this shall be My covenant with them, when I will take away their sins ." 28 Regarding the Gospel, they are enemies for your good, more about the election, they are loved because of the Fathers . 29 Because the gifts and the vocation of God are irrevocable . 30 In the same way that you were once disobedient to God, but now you have obtained mercy, because of their disobedience, 31 thus also they have now been disobedient, so that on the occasion of the mercy (granted) to you, in turn they may attain mercy. 32 For God has shut them all up in disobedience, so that he may use them with all of mercy.

The Commentary of Saint Thomas Aquinas


The Common Doctor or Official of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Commentary on the Letter to the Romans (Rome, Cittá Nuova, 1994, 2nd vol., Chapter IX, verses 1-33, pp. 17- 55) write:


"The Apostle of the Gentiles taking the opportunity that believing themselves safe Jews of divine indulgences, were excluded from grace, and instead the Gentiles were admitted to it, having been first alien to God [...] shows the Apostle his affection to the Jewish people, lest it seem that it is out of hatred that he already said. [...] Having shown the Apostle the dignity of the Jews, he now teaches that such dignity does not belong to those who descended carnally from the ancient Fathers, but to the spiritual descendants who have been chosen by God, who believed in the already arrived Messiah. [...] the Jews boasted mainly: because of Abraham, who was the first to receive the covenant of circumcision by the Lord (Gen. 17, 10), and because of Jacob or Israel, whose entire posterity is counted within of the people of God. But it was not so with Isaac, because the posterity of his son Esau did not belong to the people of God. Wherefore the Apostle explains that not all who are Israel by circumcision, or begotten of Jacob according to the flesh, are not all Israelites, to whom the promises of God belong, but those who are righteous in God through faith. ( Is., XLIV, 2).   The second thing is to show the same thing in comparison with Abraham, saying: Not all of Abraham's carnal lineage are Abraham's spiritual sons, to whom God will reiterate his blessing, but only those whose faith and works imitate . If you were children of Abraham, you would do the works of Abraham (Jn 8:39). [...] Not all those born carnally of Abraham belong to his lineage, to whom the promise was reiterated (Gal 3:16) but to those who are similar to Isaac and not to Esau. [...] Of which the Apostle deduces here that they are not adopted like children of God those that are children of the meat, that is to say, by the fact that according to the meat they are of the descendants of Abraham, but they are considered like descendants those to whom the promise was made, the children of the promise, that is, those who remain children of Abraham in the order of the likeness of the faith of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. [...] And it is noteworthy that this straightens the Apostle against the Jews, who thought to obtain for themselves the justice of God by the merits of the fathers; for which also John said to the Jews: And do not believe that you can say within yourselves: We have Abraham as our father. So, contrary to their opinion, he first argued that one of the children of Abraham was chosen and the other reprobate. [...] The grace of God is given to men by the divine election, freely and said choice or vocation not only belongs to the Jews as they themselves can glory (Deut. 4:37), but also to the Gentiles. [...] I say that the Gentiles have embraced, that is, they have achieved , the justice by which they are called children of God (I Co VI, 11, Eph. II, 12). [...] But Israel , that is, the people of the Jews, did not come to the law of justice . The law of the Holy Spirit, by which men are justified, is called the law of justice.   the people of the Jews do not arrive ... because they were not on the right path. And this expresses it this way: Because not by the faith of Christ they tried to be justified, but as by the works of the Law. "

In the second place, writes St. Thomas Aquinas, commenting on the eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans:

" The Apostle says that the fall of the Jews is worthy of compassion, but not entirely excusable. Here it teaches that the fall of the Jews is not universal. God has not totally rejected the people of the Jews and is testing it by writing: Since I too, who live in the faith of Christ, I am an Israelite by carnal bloodline (2Co XI, 22). [...] In the second place it shows that the people have not been rejected by God because of their elect, as happened in the time of the prophet Elijah, when God reserved for Himself seven thousand elect not allowing them to lose faith and fall into sin. [...]: So also in the present time, in which the crowd of the people is diverted, a reservation , a rest, have been saved , according to the election of the grace of God, that is, according to the free election of God. [...] Having shown the Apostle that the fall of the Jews is not universal, here begins by teaching that such a fall is neither useless nor irreparable. [...] In fact, God did not allow them to stumble just to make them fall and for no other benefit derived from their sin. God allows evil only for a greater good that springs from that evil allowed. Thus, God allows some to fall so that his fall is an opportunity for salvation for others. In fact, due to the crime of deicide of the Jews, the salvation of the Gentiles took place. [...] Furthermore, God has allowed this for two other intertwining purposes: 1st) for Gentiles to imitate Jews in the faith in the One God and 2nd) so that Jews can imitate Gentiles when they end all Israel be saved (Rom., XI, 26).   Therefore, the fall of the Jews is reparable. [...] For if the evil of the Jews brought great usefulness to the Gentiles, then their own good, that is their conversion at the end of the world, will bring to the world a much greater utility and in this way, if God allowed the Jews wanting for the conversion of the Pagans, the more they will make their conversion at the end of the world for the benefit of the whole world. If indeed the loss of the Jews is an occasion for the reconciliation of the world, what will their readmission be but life from the dead? Because the Gentiles will become lukewarm (Mt 24,12) and deceived by the Antichrist they will return the Jews to their initial fervor through their conversion, so that after the conversion of the Jews, when the end of the world is near, it will be the Resurrection universal, through which all men will return to immortal life. [...] But if the patriarchs, who are compared to the Jews, who come from them like the branches of the root, are holy, it does not follow infallibly that also the branches, that is, the Jews, are saints. If the scoop is holy, it does not follow that the whole mass is. Certainly the unbelieving Jews in Christ are not saints, but nothing prevents those whose Fathers were saints from being restored to holiness. [...] Moreover, St. Paul shows that the Gentiles should not boast against the Jews because of the fall of the latter. In fact, not all branches have been cut , that is, separated from the faith of the Patriarchs, who are its root.   However, the promotion of the Gentiles, who have taken the place of the Jews, entails a danger. In fact, the more man rises to vainglory, the vile the state from which he has been elevated. Now, the apostle compares the Gentiles with a wild or unfruitful acebuche. So he runs the risk of being exalted to a great vainglory. [...] Therefore, the Gentiles must consider that it is not they who bear the root, but that it is the root, that is, the patriarchs of the Jews, who carry them to them. And it is also for this reason that Saint John (IV, 22) says: Salvation comes from the Jews . [...] Then the apostle says: Who thinks to stand, the subject of not falling , that is, Gentile do not get angry, do not presume of yourself but fear that you too will be cut off from the root because of your unbelief. [...] Finally, Saint Paul reveals the future conversion of Jews in the mass because if they do not remain in their unbelief, they will be grafted in the root, that is, they will be returned to their state (Rom., XI, 26). [...] Furthermore, we must never forget that not all Israel has transgressed, but that a small part has remained faithful and together with the Gentiles forms the Church of Christ.   [...] But this should not distract the Jews from thinking about their guilt. If they are beloved of God by their Fathers , this is due to the grace and choice with which God chose their Patriarchs and should not be understood as if the merits of the Fathers were the cause of the eternal election of their children. In fact, the merits of the Fathers are not sufficient for the salvation of their children.   [...] Next, the Apostle explains that if the gifts of God are without repentance on God's part, however, they can be lost by those who received them by a movement of the unfaithful man towards the grace of God and not by a change of God, who it is not subject to vicissitudes and changes "(Commentary on the Letter to the Romans, cit., chapter XI, verses 1-32, pp. 78-112).


conclusion

" For all [Jews and Gentiles, ndr] have been locked up by God within disobedience, to be able to use with all of mercy ." ( Rom., XI, 32). This seems to me the obvious conclusion of what happens in our days of universal apostasy.


Today the former Christian nations have cooled down in Charity, they have apostatized publicly. So even we, the Christians who come from paganism, are separated, in a sense, from our root: Christ, the Patriarchs of the Old Testament and the Apostles of the New and Eternal Testament.


It is necessary - in light of what St. Matthew, his commentators and St. Paul commented on by St. Thomas - has taught us to avoid mistakes by excess and by default, which rise like two chasms around the summit of Revealed Truth, contained in S. Scripture and in Tradition.


The error by excess is to regard the Old Testament and Mosaic Judaism as intrinsically evil, falling into a type of Marcionism and anti-Christian neopaganism, that hating Israel (the "true Israel") also hates Christ. Unfortunately, the default error is, unfortunately, widespread today, also in the ecclesial environment. He considers that Israel has no collective responsibility in rejecting Jesus and that the Old Covenant with the Jewish people is still standing. Instead, as Saint Matthew and Saint Paul show us more the Scholastic Fathers and Doctors (the Truth that stands as the summit between the two opposing errors), Israel has rejected the Divinity of Christ and continues to do so until today, has betrayed the Mosaism and he has founded a new religiosity or a sect called post-biblical, talmudic or rabbinical Judaism. Well, they were repudiated by God, who broke the Covenant with them, because they were the first to break the Covenant with Him. In their place are the true Israelites who, descending from Abraham as to the flesh, kept their faith in the Messiah Christ, and the pagans who converted to Christianity. However, at the end of time, Israel will turn to Christ (Romans XI, 26), Christians will become cold in charity and will also need the mercy of God. These are the times we are living in regard to the apostasy of Christians, but the conversion of Israel is still lacking, persevering in the blindness and rejection of Christ.

As for those who have remained faithful to God to this day, the phrase of the Apostle is always valid: " Who thinks to stand, the subject of not falling ". Therefore, we should not be proud and despise those who have fallen not to be cut off from the holy "root" (which is Christ) also us.


But we should not be afraid. The Virgin promised us: "in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph", and Jesus swore solemnly: "the gates of hell will not prevail".


That is why we also have great pain because of our sin of apostasy towards Christ, but together with a great confidence in his triumph, when pagans and Jews (Romans XI, 26) will be the two walls raised on the "cornerstone", which is Jesus Christ, to form the Church of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.


P. Curzio Nitoglia


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