Today’s First Reading is a little confusing if it is not seen within the context of whom Paul has been speaking about: Israel. In the Acts of the Apostles we see Paul going to the Jews first to proclaim the Gospel, only to receive hostility. Paul then tells them they’ve rejected what Our Lord was offering them and would, therefore, share it with the Gentiles (see Acts 13:44–49). In today’s reading Paul describes the Jews’ loss as the Gentiles’ gain.
If the Jews had not rejected the Word, “disobeyed,” the opportunity of mercy would never have been presented to the Gentiles, who did accept the Word, becoming reconciled with God as a result. The wonders the Gospel did among the Gentiles gave the Jews an opportunity to re-think their disobedience and receive God’s mercy through the Gospel as well.
Many people who have returned to God tell the tale of how many twists and turns the path to mercy took in their lives. That’s not God’s fault, but ours. John the Baptist, quoting Isaiah, encouraged us to “Make straight the way of the Lord” (see John 1:23). Let’s embrace his mercy and his way with all our heart.
Readings: Romans 11:29–36; Psalm 69:30–31, 33–34, 36; Luke 14:12–14.