The New Covenant Not a Punishment
Your one quibble that had some substance may be easily addressed. You said,
Originally Posted by Robert Sungenis
By the way, all the quotes you have cited from Cardinal Ratzinger or Pope Benedict XVI are unofficial and therefore merely his opinion....So I don’t consider him an authority on the issue unless he wants to speak officially.
Then how about the following? This is from the Holy Father’s Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini
we now naturally turn to the special bond which that relationship has engendered between Christians and Jews, a bond that must never be overlooked. Pope John Paul II, speaking to Jews, called them “our ‘beloved brothers’ in the faith of Abraham, our Patriarch”. To acknowledge this fact is in no way to disregard the instances of discontinuity which the New Testament asserts with regard to the institutions of the Old Testament, much less the fulfilment of the Scriptures in the mystery of Jesus Christ, acknowledged as Messiah and Son of God. All the same, this profound and radical difference by no means implies mutual hostility. The example of Saint Paul (cf. Rom 9-11) shows on the contrary that “an attitude of respect, esteem and love for the Jewish people is the only truly Christian attitude in the present situation, which is a mysterious part of God’s wholly positive plan”. Indeed, Saint Paul says of the Jews that: “as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers, for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable!” (Rom 11:28-29).
Sorry Bob. It remains absolutely clear that the Magisterium has repeatedly applied Romans 11:28-29 to unbaptized Jews, as a whole, and does not partition it out like you do.
I would point out that this exhortation from the Holy Father is also interesting because he refers to unconverted Jews as “our beloved brothers”. Yet, in your critique of our article “All in the Family”, you were disturbed that we referred to the Jewish people as family. We’ve provided multiple other instances where the Church has referred to the Jewish people in familial terms as well (https://sites.google.com/site/sungen...#_Toc255151550
). But in your view, the Jewish people are not family in any
sense. You teach that “the Jews are godless” and when one looks at your theology and the dozens of postings attacking Jews, it seems sadly obvious why you’re disturbed when the Jewish people are described as “family”.
And we see a similar phenomenon with your insistence on the word “revoked” and your not-so-subtle insistence that the cessation of the Old Covenant and arrival of the New Covenant was a punishment against the Jews.
I would argue that that understanding is seriously flawed. God intended from the beginning to establish the New Covenant in Christ. And the reason is that the Old Covenant could not save
. It never had the power to do so. The wayward hearts of the Jewish people could not be changed by the Old Law and in order to save them and everybody God had to supersede that Old Covenant, which could not save, with the New Covenant which could.
The New Covenant was given first to the Jewish people and only later were the Gentiles included. The Kingdom of God–the New Israel–was entrusted by the Jewish Mashiach to twelve Jews, with a Jew named Kepha leading the way, and a Jewess by the name of Miriam as spiritual Mother and Mediatrix. These Jews and their followers regularly received the flesh and blood of the Jewish God-man–including the Gentiles (the wild olive shoots) who were eventually grafted onto that cultivated olive tree, Israel (Romans 11:17, 24). This hardly represents a punishment and repudiation of the Jewish people, Bob.
This dynamic (regarding the reason the Mosaic covenant was replaced) is seen clearly in Heb 8:7-12. Certainly, they have a “fault” — the people were wayward and were stuck in their sins. But there was a fault too with the Old Covenant—it could not save them. The replacement of the Mosaic covenant with the New Covenant in Christ is not a punishment of the Jewish people. It is rather an act of God’s mercy and love toward them:
For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says: "The days will come, says the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant, and so I paid no heed to them, says the Lord. This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach every one his fellow or every one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more."
Now certainly punishment came, as you will be quick to point out from any number of verses in the New Testament. But notice that, again, the replacement of the Mosaic Covenant with the New Covenant was not itself that punishment
. The breaking off of the natural branches came after
the giving of the New Covenant and the great judgment of Israel in the destruction of the Temple came forty years after
, as a result of their rejection of the Messiah.