Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Romans 11

In the eleventh chapter of his letter to the Romans, St. Paul writes that: "But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the richness of the olive tree, do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. You will say, 'Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.' That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; OTHERWISE YOU TOO WILL BE CUT OFF. And even the others, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, HOW MUCH MORE WILL THESE NATURAL BRANCHES BE GRAFTED BACK INTO THEIR OWN OLIVE TREE. Lest you be wise in your own conceits, 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.' As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, FOR YOUR SAKE; but as regards election THEY ARE BELOVED for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of God ARE IRREVOCABLE." (Rom. 11:17-29).

This is, as the Holy Spirit tells us through St. Paul, a "mystery." Almighty God has His plan. As Catholics, we should avoid any semblance of boasting over the fact that we have been grafted onto the olive tree. We are reminded that if the natural branches have been cut off, that this could all the more easily happen with those of us who are mere grafts.


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