Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop (Memorial)

 

The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.

 

St. Paul grieved deeply that many of his fellow Jews had not accepted the gospel message.   Earlier in his letter to the Romans, Paul expressed “great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart” for the Jewish people, and even went so far as to say that he himself would willingly separate himself from Christ if only they would believe (Romans 9:2, 3).

However, in today’s passage, it’s clear that Paul has not given up hope.   He believes that the salvation experienced by the Gentiles will cause the Jewish people to desire Christ.   He trusts that “by virtue of the mercy shown to [the Gentiles], they too may now receive mercy” (Romans 11:31).

We all know family members and loved ones who do not know Christ, and like Paul, we also grieve for them.   We want them to experience the same love and mercy that God has showered on us, along with the freedom to live an abundant and fruitful life.   Like Paul, we also know that we can’t force anyone to believe.   All we can do is pray that their hearts will someday be open and that someone will be there to share the good news with them.

In the meantime, we can also have hope.   Just as it was for the Jewish people, so it is for everyone:   God’s gifts and call are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).   He will never withdraw from them;   it would be against his nature to do so.   He has not rejected anyone, even people who have rejected him.   In fact, his greatest desire is to have all of us close to his heart every moment of every day.

So let’s continue praying for our loved ones and for everyone who is far from the Lord.   Let’s pray that God’s light will shine in their lives.   Let’s also pray for ourselves and for all believers;  we have all been sent into the world to preach the gospel.   As Paul says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:15).

“Jesus, you call everyone to yourself, even those who don’t yet know you.   Open their hearts to your grace.   Give me the boldness and courage to share with them all that you have done in my life.”

Psalm 69:30-31, 33-34, 36
Luke 14:12-14

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