Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
They were God's chosen people until the coming of Christ, and they could have been among His chosen people now, had they remained true to God. God did not change in His attitude to them; rather they changed in their attitude to Him. They had been taught to look forward to the Redeemer. But when He came they rejected Him because they wished Him to bring them temporal, not spiritual gifts.
Man has always had a religion taught by God. But this religion falls into four great divisions:— 1.—The religion of Adam, who was instructed immediately by God. This was the first stage, and is known as the religion of innocent man. 2.—After Adam's fall, Adam handed on to his children the truth about God, and the duty of worshipping Him. Thus Abel offered sacrifice. The traditions were transmitted by Adam's posterity, but memories faded. Still, conscience always dictated what was naturally right, and this period could be called the period of natural law. However, God gave occasional revelations to various individuals, such as the Patriarchs, over and above the natural law, and this stage is often called the period of the Patriarchal religion, or the period of pre-Mosaic unwritten law. 3.—The third stage came with Moses. After the re-multiplication of the human race from Noah, men again began to forget God, and God gave to Moses a clearer exposition of religious duties to be put into writing. This is known as the stage of the written law, or that of the Mosaic religion. 4.—Finally God sent His own Son to give the more perfect law—the Christian law—which the Catholic Church teaches today in its fullness, and will teach till the end of time. Noah belonged to the second of these four stages, that of the Patriarchal unwritten law.
The delay was adapted to mankind's natural methods of progress from the less perfect to the more perfect. It taught the human race its need of God from sad experience. It brought out the real dignity of Christ which could thus be heralded by a long series of prophets. God is not so impatient as man. He is quite content to wait for an acorn to become an oak tree, rather than create all oak trees immediately.
As stated above, God gave the true religion to mankind gradually, so that men would be prepared by more simple doctrines for still more noble truths. Thus He sent Moses the lawgiver, and after him a series of prophets to explain the law and to predict the coming of the Messiah. Christ fulfilled these predictions and taught the perfect law of God. The religion known by the Jews before Christ was therefore but imperfect and preparatory. The religion of Christ was its perfect fulfillment, and the Jews should have recognized and accepted it. They did not, and then Christ sent his Apostles to preach it to the Gentiles. Christ did not therefore establish another religion. Christianity is the perfect development of the Jewish religion, just as the perfect tree is the perfect development of the seed from which it grew.
Yes. Referring to the future, Christ said, "I will build my Church." The Synagogue was already established. Christ prescribed new doctrines, new modes of worship, and a new form of authority. He even predicted to His Apostles, "In the Synagogue you shall be beaten." Mk. XIII, 9. The intended distinction of His Church from the prefigurative Synagogue is most clear.
Christ retained all the basic laws of religion and morality contained in the progressively revealed Jewish preparation, abolishing only the particular rites and ceremonies which were purely figurative, and also the imperfections of the initial religion.
Many individuals did. As a race the Jews did not. This was not because Christ did not sufficiently prove His mission, but because the leaders of religious thought, and the teachers of the people had lost the true religious spirit, had selfishly transferred their affections to a love of their own high places, and had substituted the idea of a magnificent temporal ruler for the idea of a spiritual Saviour. They wanted deliverance from the tyranny of the Romans, and help to trample upon them in turn. Since Christ did not fit in with their earthly notions and ambitions, the leaders rejected Him. The majority of the people, dependent upon the Scribes and Pharisees for religious direction, obeyed these leaders, their own fears, and their national pride. The first members of the Christian Church were individual Jews chosen by Christ to spread His doctrines among the Gentiles; and this, in accordance with Christ's own prediction in the parable of the great supper, where those first invited would not come. Indeed an earlier warning had been given to the Jews that their birthright would pass to the Gentiles if they did not overcome their attachment to earthly ideals in the incident of Esau's selling his birthright to Jacob. Although Christianity should be the religion of the Jews, therefore, it is not, through their own fault as a race. The modern Jew takes his religion for granted, without inquiring deeply into the question.
God did not treat the Jews unfairly. They had every opportunity given them to recognize the truth. Christ offered them the evidence of many miracles in the material order and before their eyes. They could not deny these miracles, but in their bad will ascribed them to the devil. Christ, as promised, came to offer eternal spiritual benefits, the only lasting ones and the only ones which the grave cannot take from us. Had He not offered such benefits, the Jews would have been justified in rejecting Him. But that He did not offer the material benefits He did not come to give, can never justify the Jews in their rejection of Him.
Many a man knows what he ought to do, but to do it is another thing altogether. The Jews could not honestly deny that Christ was of God, and that His religious teaching should be accepted. Some did accept it; others did not. Even God would not compel these to accept the true religion, and Christ warned them of the guilt in their bad will when He said, "He who does not believe shall be condemned."