Friday, March 24, 2006

Missio Ad Israel

In his new catechetical series at his weekly audiences on Christ and the Church, the Pope has several times spoken of the “Mission to Israel” as being fundamental to the apostolicity of the Church.

He did it again last Wednesday:

“Jesus is the eschatological shepherd, who gathers the lost sheep of the house of Israel and goes out in search of them, because he knows and loves them (cf. Luke 15:4-7 and Matthew 18:12-14; cf. also the figure of the Good Shepherd in John 10:11 and following). Through this "gathering," the Kingdom of God is proclaimed to all nations. "Thus I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see the judgment I have executed and the hand I have laid upon them" (Ezekiel 39:21). And Jesus follows precisely this prophetic profile. The first step is the "gathering" of Israel, so that all nations called to gather in communion with the Lord may live and believe.

“In this way, the Twelve, called to participate in the same mission of Jesus, cooperate with the Shepherd of the last times, also addressing above all the lost sheep of the house of Israel, namely, the people of the promise, whose gathering is sign of the salvation for all nations, the beginning of the universalization of the Covenant. Far from contradicting the universal opening of the Nazarene's messianic action, the restriction from the beginning of his mission and of that of the Twelve is an effective prophetic sign.”

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