The month of March is dedicated to St. Joseph, Patron and Protector of the Universal Church, proclaimed as such in 1847 by Pope Pius IX. St. Joseph was, of course, a Jew, a descendant of King David, as we hear in the words addressed to him in a dream by the Angel of the Lord: "Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David, to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins" (Mt.1:20,21).
We must try to understand the role of the Jews in God's economy of salvation. The original kingdom of the Israelites under King David, and his son Solomon after him, was divided after Solomon's death into the Northern Kingdom of Israel, consisting of ten of the twelve tribes, and the Southern Kingdom of Judea, with the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. In the year 722 B.C., the Northern Kingdom was destroyed by the Assyrians, and most of its inhabitants were carried off into captivity. The Jews are the descendants of those two surviving tribes of the Southern Kingdom, Judah, and Benjamin. The so-called Ashkenazi Jews, or "Russian Jews," descended from the ancient Khazars of Eastern Europe, despite their prominence in the Jewish community, do not have Jewish blood, but were converted to Judaism in the ninth century.
Besides Jesus Himself, and Mary and Joseph, the Apostles were all Jews, the first Christians were Jews, and the first martyrs were Jews. It is an honor to be of the same race as Jesus Christ, humanly speaking. Yet blood relationship in itself does not save, but only faith, as Jesus points out in today's Gospel. A woman from the crowd had addressed Him: "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts that nursed You" (Lk.11:27). Jesus replied: "Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it" (Lk.11:28). Mary's physical motherhood was less important than her spiritual motherhood. As St. Augustine said, "Mary conceived Him in her heart before she conceived Him in her womb."
Concerning the promises of God, therefore, being of Jewish blood, or having a Jewish identity based on conversion to modern Judaism, is of no account, for the true inheritors of the promise God made to Abraham are those who believe in Abraham's true heir, Jesus Christ. St. Paul explains: "There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor freeman; there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are the offspring of Abraham, heirs according to the promise" (Gal.3:28,29).
St. Paul calls our attention to the story of Abraham and his two sons, the one, Isaac, the son of his lawful wife, Sara, and Ishmael, son of Hagar the slave woman: "And the son of the slave-girl was born according to the flesh, but the son of the free woman in virtue of the promise. This is said by way of allegory. For these are the two covenants: one indeed from Mount Sinai, bringing forth children unto bondage, which is Hagar… But that Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother… Now we, brethren, are the children of promise… in virtue of the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free" (Gal.4:23,24,26,28,31b).
Now the Jews as next-door neighbors are neither better nor worse than anyone else. To persecute anyone because he belongs to a particular race or ethnic group is a serious sin. But they have become victims of their own religious heritage, because their religious leaders, having fallen into apostasy by rejecting Christ, perpetuated a religion based on a false interpretation of the Old Testament, and the writings of the Babylonian Talmud. Having lost the spiritual focus of their religion, they now concentrate upon unrealistic earthly expectations.
These things are of immediate concern to us for two reasons, first of all because we find that the Church has come under the influence of Talmudic Judaism. The Jews have used their power to maneuver Vatican authorities into rejecting the Church's former policies, according to which it recognized the spiritual impoverishment of the Jews, and prayed for their conversion. Since Vatican II and the document Nostra Aetate, followed by other even more radical documents, the Vatican proclaims a new spiritual solidarity with the Jews, claiming that their ancient Covenant is still in effect, and that they need not believe in Jesus Christ. The "official church" no longer prays for the conversion of the Jews.
The power of the Jews over the Church in our time is unprecedented. It could never have been imagined by a St. Augustine, a St. Thomas Aquinas, or a St. Alphonsus Liguori, that the Jews would be interfering in papal conclaves, writing Church documents, and providing sermon outlines for Catholic priests.
The second reason for our concern is that Americans are beginning to realize that the present war upon Iraq in which we find ourselves embroiled is not being fought because Iraq is a danger to America, but to further the interests of the state of Israel. If they have their way, American blood will be shed, as our armies take on, one after another, the enemies of Israel, nations which are mostly Arab and Muslim. The present administration, pressured by powerful Jewish advisors, and deluded by Evangelical Christians of the Hal Lindsay type, who follow the Jewish Zionist reading of the Old Testament concerning the destiny of the Jews, now consider it the "manifest destiny" of America to war against the enemies of Israel, the nations that stand in the way of it's grandiose plans for expanding into 'Greater Israel'.
The Jews surely have a role to play in the unfolding of the end times, but it's not the one they imagine. They will find themselves in the end without friends, surrounded by enemies, and facing annihilation. We read in the prophet Zechariah, "And I will gather all nations to Jerusalem to battle: and the city shall be taken… Then the Lord shall go forth and shall fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is over against Jerusalem toward the east…" (Zec.14:2a,3,4a).
The prophet tells of the conversion of the remaining Jews: "I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and petition; and they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him (Jesus Christ) as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a firstborn" (Zec.12:10).
"And you shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins" (Mt.1:21).