When we read or hear from the Old Testament the stories surrounding Abraham , Isaac, and Jacob, it becomes clear that God had chosen the Jewish people as his own. Through Moses the people, even in exile in Egypt, were given the message: I will take you as my own people, and you shall have me as your God( Ex 6:7). This promise can be found repeatedly in the writings of the Prophets . It is significant that Matthew begins his Gospel with the genealogy of Jesus starting with Abraham and tracing each generation to Joseph and Mary ( Mt 1:1-17). Saint Luke also traces the family tree of Jesus starting with Joseph and going back through the ages of Adam (Lk 3: of 23-38.
Indeed, it was into a Jewish family and culture that God sent his Son, Jesus, to reveal to the world the Father’s love and to fulfill the covenants made to Abraham and David centuries before. Our Catechism reminds us that the Jewish people were the first to hear the Word The of God(839). As Jesus undertook his mission he selected twelve men as his companions as he preached among the Jewish towns from Nazareth in the North to Bethany and Jerusalem in the south. He spoke to the everyday people , the shepherds and farmers, as well as to those well versed in the Law, the Pharisees, Some accepted His teachings and some rejected them. In many cases, the scribes and Pharisees, the most learned people of their times, frustrated Jesus by their strict interpretation of the religious laws that defined Jewish faith and their seemingly lack of compassion for the needs of the people (Lk 11: 39-52).
Time and again the Gospels tell us of the faith in God that was expressed by some of the Gentiles who lived in Israel. The centurion, a Roman, begged for Jesus to heal his servants, and Jesus commented on the faith he found in the man; it was greater than Jesus had found among the Israelites ( Lk71:97). Jesus taught with parables that expressed the deep faith he found among the Samaritans, tax collectors and lepers, the outcasts of society. He even defined as his family those who hear the word of God and act upon it.
This is very Good News for us. Today we hear in the readings that the way to the Kingdom the New Jerusalem, is narrow and requires discipline from the Lord, but it is open to people of every nation and language. As the Apostles were sent to preach to and baptize all people, we must hear the teachings of Jesus and accept them. Through faith in Jesus we come to share in his promise of salvation.
May God bless you all
Your brother in Christ