The Lord Yahweh says this: I shall take the Israelites from the nations where they have gone. I shall gather them to- gether from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil. I shall make them into one nation in the country, on the mountains of Israel, and one king is to be king of them all; they will no longer form two nations, nor be two separate kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their foul idols, their horrors and any of their crimes. I shall save them from the acts of infidelity which they have committed and shall cleanse them; they will be my people and I shall be their God. My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all; they will follow my judgements, respect my laws and practise them. They will live in the country which I gave to my servant Jacob, the country in which your ancestors lived. They will live in it, they, their children, their children’s children, for ever. David my servant is to be their prince for ever. I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and make them grow; I shall set my sanctuary among them for ever. I shall make my home above them; I shall be their God, and they will be my people. And the nations will know that I am Yahweh the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with them for ever.
Some question whether these words refer only to the people of Israel, which would mean that this promise has not yet been fulfilled; or whether they can also apply to a spiritually understanding Israel, which would be fulfilled as soon as people embrace the Christian faith.
I think that both interpretations are valid.
As for Israel as a specific people, the fulfilment of this promise is still pending. There are some indications that the time may be approaching when this will happen.
But the promise we heard in today’s reading has already been clearly fulfilled in the existence of the Church, which has Christ as King, which gathers into her bosom so many nations, in the midst of which God has made his dwelling, even in the eminent form of the Blessed Sacrament.
We might even say that the Jews could see in the Church an example of how the promise can be fulfilled for them too. They have indeed gathered from all nations and returned to the land of their fathers, where they now have a state of their own. But what they still lack is the recognition of the Messiah, the Son of David, who would become the centre of their nation. This will happen when the veil is removed from their eyes and they are enlightened by the Spirit of the Lord. Therefore, a constant intention in our prayers must be the People of Israel. We cannot fail to consider what a great witness it would be to the world if Israel were to believe in Jesus as the Messiah.
In God’s Word, particularly in the Old Testament, we can note again and again how great is His desire to live united with His people, and naturally this extends also to each individual person. Where faith is lived, the closeness of God becomes so natural that we can experience something of what was experienced in Paradise: man’s intimate communion with God.
But what about other people? Often the “normality” is that we do not even know God, and so life is spent only in its natural dimension. What will this situation be like for God, who has so much to give to mankind?
We must consider not only the need of those who lack the light of faith, but also the suffering of Our Lord, whose love is so often rejected or insufficiently accepted.
It remains for us to implore the conversion of people to God and to bear witness to Him with our lives.
But we can also console Our Lord with a life of dedication to Him, and in this way we will also be in the best disposition to bear fruit in His Kingdom. God wants to build His Kingdom also in each individual person; everyone can become His temple and offer Him his heart as a dwelling place.
In this way, what God has planned for all nations can be fulfilled at least in the individual faithful and in the community of the Church. God wants to be with us and live in communion with us! He wants to be our true Father, our King, our friend and our confidant. Under the dominion of his love, he wants to make us all brothers and sisters, in whom his love dwells. Thus would come to fulfilment that petition which we recite daily: “Thy Kingdom come”.
NOTE: Starting tomorrow, we will begin a series of meditations for the Holy Week. We will walk with Our Lord along the path that led Him from His entry into Jerusalem to Mount Calvary; we will accompany the Mother in her mourning for her beloved Son; and finally, we will celebrate the triumph of the Resurrection. The meditations will be posted on the YouTube channel “Elijerusalem English”, one each day, and we cordially invite you to follow and share them!