Bottom line: We stand in awe of what God did in forming the Jewish people and we rejoice that in Christ we can become grafted on to that race. And that race is color blessed.
Today St. Paul speaks about "my own people, my kindred according to the flesh." He is referring, of course to the Jewish people. Before talking about what the Jewish race means to us, I'd like to say a word about the issue of race today.
Pastor Rick Warren wrote: "Some people say, 'When I look at people, I don't see race. I don't see their color.'" Pastor Warren responds, "There's a word for that: liar! Nobody is colorblind when it comes to race. And God doesn't want you to be colorblind. He wants you to be color blessed."
That struck a cord with me. When I went to Stanwood High, we weren't exactly white. More a pale pink. I am happy our society has become color blessed. One of the great things about Hispanic ministry is the mixture of races and colors. Here at St. Mary of the Valley, we are color blessed.
At the same time - and this is going to surprise many people - the Bible does not identify people by skin color. I've read the Bible through several times and I can think of only two places where it makes a reference to a person's skin color. The Bible really is color blind!
The Bible identifies people by their culture. We see Ethiopians, Babylonians, Greeks and so on. The Jewish people interacted with them not as people with different skin color, but as different cultures or "nations".
The story of the Bible is about God forming a people of his own - the Jews or Israelites. St. Paul says this about the Jewish race: "They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever."
Wow! Wow! Some think it's unfair God showed so much favoritism to the Jews. Well, along with great blessings came great suffering. In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye complaints to God: "I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can't You choose someone else?"
The Jewish people have a unique place in human history. But you know something? The amazing thing is that you and I can become joined to the Jewish race. St. Paul says that we Gentiles, we non-Jews, are like "wild olive branches" who have become grafted on to that Jewish trunk. We take our nourishment from those Jewish roots.
Next Sunday we will get a little preview when Jesus encounters a non-Jewish woman, a Caananite to be exact. It's pretty interesting so don't miss it.
For today we stand in awe of what God did in forming the Jewish people and we rejoice that in Christ we can become grafted on to that race. And that race is color blessed. It includes you and me - and people from every tribe and nation. Amen.
From Archives (for Nineteenth Ordinary Sunday, Year A):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru