We Will Turn To The Pagans


“It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you” – Read Acts 13:44-51




After his conversion, Paul announces Christ in the synagogues to Jews and sympathizers. Some listen to him. Most of them persecute him, as he himself was doing with the Christians. In the middle of the first journey, after again a persecution, he decides to turn to the pagans (Acts 13:46). Peter had preceded him, but against his own will and forced as it were by God (Acts 10:1ff). The persecutions on the part of his Jewish brethren make Paul understand the work to which God is calling him: to open the door of faith to the pagans (Acts 14:27). Also, during the second journey, he will repeat : “From now on, I will go to the Gentiles” (Acts 18:6). In the same way, at the end of the Acts, he will stress again to the Jews of Rome: “This salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen” (Acts 28:29).

Reading the fact at the light of Romans 11:1ff, it is as if Paul were saying to the pious Jews: “For two thousand years we have been observing your traditions and waiting that God may accomplish His promises. Don’t you realize that God has already accomplished them? You are waiting for the coming of the Lord. He has already come, He always comes and will come. He only waits for you to welcome Him. Instead, you are rejecting Him in order to cling to your traditions, to your real idols.

It is as if the Pope would say to the Christians of Rome: “For two thousand years you have been keeping your traditions, waiting for God to accomplish His promises. Don’t you realize that God had already accomplished them? You are waiting for the coming back of the Lord. But He has already come back, He is coming back and will come back the way He came: on the Cross. He is waiting for you to welcome Him in order to rise to a new life also in your hearts. Instead, you are rejecting Him in order to cling to your rites and rules. Moreover, you even make use of Him in order to get privileges and power. Worse still: you make use of privileges and power thinking that you are serving Him. In this way the beautiful “name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Romans 2:24; Isaiah 52:5).

God is present in those situations of cursing that are under our eyes. He is the hungry one, the thirsty one, the immigrant, the naked, the sick and the one in prison. He visits us in the least of our brethren (Matthew 25: 31ff). We, on our part, act like small or big inquisitors and send Him away so that He may not provoke a crisis in our certainties. We even give Him alms in order to get rid of Him more quickly and not to feel guilty. We go to great lengths in order not to convert…The Gospel is for the poor. Better, the Gospel are the poor who can save us if we accept them. In them, we see our King, the Crucified One who comes to save us. When will we open our eyes and cry over our boundless stupidity?

“We are in the Third Millennium,” the Pope concludes. “Since too long a time, our situation is like the one denounced by Paul. So, I go out of Saint Peter’s Basilica and shake the dust of the Vatican from my feet. I tell you that, from now on I will turn to pagans and non-believers. Let your refusal become the salvation for all and may the salvation of all the others provoke your jealousy and so save you, too” (Cf. Romans 11:1ff).

Every generation needs these words by Paul. We must open the salvation door  to all people, even this post- modern world that God loves with an everlasting love and on behalf of which He has offered His Only Begotten Son (John 3:16).

The world will believe in the Father when it will see communion among His children. Such a unity is not based on power or prestige, laws or codices, but on love. When speaking of His imminent glory which reveals itself from the Cross, thus does Jesus pray to the Father on our behalf: “The glory You have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one. I in them and You in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You have sent me and has loved them even as You have loved me (John 17:22ff). The world will know the God of love through our love, open to all. The Crucified God is already “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). He is waiting for us to welcome Him. A Christian is whoever loves Him in the least of human beings.   © Popoli – www.popoli.info

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