God writes straight on crooked lines- Monday, 31st Week in ordinary time – Romans 11:29-36

 God writes straight on crooked lines- Monday, 31st Week in ordinary time – Romans 11:29-36

When Paul began writing his letter to the Romans, he stated emphatically, “the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (1:16). Paul does not hide both his and God’s preferential love for the Jews who were His chosen ones. But we know that the majority of the Jews rejected the Gospel much to the dismay of Paul. Are the Jews to be rejected by God for their behaviour?

Paul’s explanation of the Gospel through the first half of his letter culminates in chapter eight with the assurance of God’s irrevocable promises to his people: “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (verse 28) That assurance is repeated once again in 11:29, “God has not rejected his people because God’s promises are irrevocable”.

A reading of the Old Testament reiterates the merciful action of God who time and time again bent his heart to spare his elect. But time and time again it is His elect who reject the Gospel. Paul acknowledges the Jews as the enemies of the Gospel yet he affirms their special election by God and calls them God’s beloved. For in the end, God is merciful and He does not break his promises. We might not understand how everything will work out, but Faith rests on hopes like this.

In today’s reading we see God’s covenantal love for the Jews and by extension to us; mind you it’s not a contractual love. In a contractual love the principle of ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours ‘are uppermost and operative at all times. Not so in covenantal love; for covenantal love has been written on our hearts. God never breaks his promise even if we break ours.

To most people such a love is nothing short of madness and so Paul emphasizes that our human understanding is a pale shadow in front of the wisdom of God. “Oh the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unreachable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways.” In short, Gods ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not ours, for He write straight on crooked lines.

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