When “Eleison Comments” last week argued that insofar as Pope Benedict XVI’s Good Friday prayer change worked against the eternal salvation of Jews, he had proved himself – no doubt unintentionally – to be a true anti-semite, ie enemy of Jews purely as Jews, a number of readers apparently agreed. I congratulate them, because they had to be thinking with their Catholic minds instead of merely emoting with their (objectively) vile media. Let us think a little further.
Obviously, the basic principles apply to all men and not just to Jews: to wish them eternal salvation is to love them truly, because it is to wish them the greatest good of all, namely everlasting happiness in Heaven, through and with Our Lord Jesus Christ. To wish them welfare or prosperity merely in this little life on earth is to love them much less, especially if that worldly success would get in the way of their eternal salvation, as it all too easily can do – Mt.XIX, 24.
But fewer and fewer people today believe in life everlasting or in Our Lord, and so naturally the perspective of such people is different. If I urge upon them eternal life, or if I do what I prudently can to obstruct their campaigning against Our Lord, then I will seem to them to be their enemy when I am in fact their best friend. It is all a question of perspective, but it is not a question of opinion: the eternal perspective is true, while the anti-Christian perspective is objectively and absolutely false.
Now ever since the Jews were responsible for the crucifying of Our Lord Jesus Christ – “His blood be upon us and upon our children,” Mt.XXVII,25 – they have as a race and as a religion, always with noble exceptions, continued to reject him down to our day. Thus St. Paul observed that they not only “killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets,” but they also prohibited St. Paul himself from “speaking to the Gentiles so as to save them.” In brief, their behavior was such that “they please not God and are adversaries to men” (I Thess. II, 14–16). Closer to our own time, it is a matter of historical record that the designing and launching of, for instance, Communism, to wrest mankind away from God and to replace his Heaven with a man-made paradise, was largely their achievement.
So they persecuted St. Paul at every turn (see Acts of the Apostles) as being one of their arch-enemies, when in fact nobody loved them more truly or laboured more for their real well-being than did St. Paul (cf. Rom. IX,1–5). Similarly today, they will call an “anti-semite” anybody who gets in the way of any godlessness of theirs, when in fact all people labouring for their salvation, as for the salvation of Gentiles, are their best friends.
St Paul, pray for us!