Today is February 19, 2019 -
We have had a challenging week. We’ve seen more terrorism in Israel, increased mass shootings in the U.S., and even a hateful billboard in Albany. There is no question that these are challenging times. But, we did have one bright spot in Northeastern New York–an evening with the Bishop of Albany, Edward B. Scharfenberger, D.D.
In December the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews published a new paper, “The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable.” The paper suggests that as a result of being God’s chosen people, and the fact that our covenant with God had never been revoked, there might be a path to heaven for Jews without the acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah. Now, as great as this sounds, theologically, we (Jews) really could not care less whether or not the Pope thinks that we can go to heaven. This simply is not at all relevant to us.
However, the message that should be very important to us is the love and respect from the Vatican that this new message conveys, and this message of love was beautifully delivered to us by the Bishop on Tuesday night.
The Bishop shared with us his personal concern of many years for his own Jewish grandfather’s ability to enter heaven. The Vatican’s new statement helped to reconcile his own feelings. He went on to share his belief that if we as Jews follow God’s path the way that we understand it, and he as a Christian follows God’s path the way that he understands it, then God will sort it all out (in a way that the Bishop admitted to not understanding), and that we would see each other again in heaven. Beautiful!
We spend a lot of time dwelling on the hate. Let’s enjoy a little time dwelling on the love as we look forward to continuing and enhancing our local relationship with the Catholic community. Thank you Bishop.