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Common Ground: What Units Us?
How do you get groups, rivalries, or nations that do not get along to get along? Answer: common ground. No one can survive a nuclear holocaust, no one wants a comet to blow up our planet, and we do not need another Covid. When the Red Sox and Yankees play together, what is the first thing they do? They play the national anthem. Why? It reminds people that it is only a game, it is only for fun. It tells us that we are family, united under a nation. That is why Paul is writing to the Romans, to offer them a “national anthem.”
Here is the situation. The Gentile Christians are looking at the Jewish Christians and asking them where are all the other Jews. Why are they not following Christ? If Christ is the fulfillment of all your laws and prophets, why are they not here with us? God made this increasable upgrade and your people are lagging in the past? Maybe God has rejected your people and has chosen us instead.
Paul addresses the Gentile Christians with this analogy. Let’s say there is a tree that is diseased while bugs are eating the leaves so it bears no fruit. They cut it down and now there is a stump. The roots are still healthy so the stump grows a sprout that grows strong. Because it is healthy, other branches that have fallen from other trees can be grafted in and share the life of the root system. That is what happened to you, Gentile Christians. You need them, you need the small remnant of Jewish Christians because you need their root system.
Let me put it this way. In the future, I have many possibilities. They could find a cure for baldness and maybe in the future, I will have a full head of hair. The Cardinals may vote during a conclave and I could become Pope Peter II. It is possible that I will place first in my age division at my next road race. All of these are just possibilities. At the same time, I can look into my future and find one thing that I know will happen: death. That is the common ground that all of us living beings share. Yet, Paul, says death has been replaced by Christ. We now all have access to eternal life. We never had that before. Christ now binds us together.
When we go out into the world there is competition, rivalry, division, and tensions. Before you enter the games, remember Paul’s national anthem. Christ bonds us all together. This is a reason to need each other.Back to All Homilies