The Olive Tree of God

“The Olive Tree of God”
A reflection on Romans 9:1-5; 11:23-24
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
©️2023 Gloria M. Chang

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Romans 9:1-5 (ESV)

Paul’s Sorrow

Paul’s passionate plea on behalf of the Jews led him to negate himself so thoroughly that he cried for his own damnation for their sake. His feelings echoed the cry of Jesus on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34) In the depths of his sorrow, Paul united his heart to Christ crucified, who longed, like a hen, “to gather her young under her wings” (Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34). 

One Family in God

Mysteries abound in the course of salvation history. Paul expresses the hope that the Jews, who gifted the world with the covenant, the law, the patriarchs, and the Christ, “will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again” (Romans 11:23).

For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

Romans 11:24

The Root shall gather its branches someday,
Uniting Jews and Gentiles in Love’s Way.

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