Reading N° 3 in the History of the Catholic Church
Fr. Fernand Mourret, S.S.
Our Lord, in His sermons and parables, repeatedly announced that the kingdom of God, rejected by the Jews, would be accepted by the Gentiles. But the Israelites, nonetheless, remained the chosen people, the nation "of the promise." It was at Jerusalem, in a group belonging to the Jewish race, that the Church had its cradle. The earliest disciples of Christ religiously followed most of the Jewish observances, and withdrew from them only gradually and with utmost respect. The Synagogue, after the defections of its children, was buried with honor.
How great had been the destinies of the children of Abraham and Jacob before God and man! The Lord, by His covenant with them, by the prophets He raised up in the midst of their nation, by the numerous wonders He performed for them during the ages, had done for them what He had done for no other people. On their part, scattered as they were throughout the nations, they had remained faithful to the two great doctrines which the Lord had entrusted to their safekeeping: belief in one God and the hope of a Messias. Athens might lay claim to the glory of unparalleled art; Rome, to that of incomparable political science; but Jerusalem was the center of the purest worship that had been offered to the Divinity.
|Israel, a house divided against itself|
|The Temple complex at Jerusalem (model) prior to its destruction in A.D. 70|
The faithful disciples who had been won from the ranks of the Jewish people by Christ's preaching and the prodigies of Pentecost, shared in these noble feelings. Following the example of their Divine Master, they regularly went up to the Temple and mingled in the crowd of the worshippers. "For them, the new religion was not the foe of the old, but its fruit. They rightly judged that the holy souls of both Testaments - the Old and the New - really formed one and the same Church about one and the same Messias, misunderstood by some, acclaimed by others, but the sole object of Israel's hopes. [...] To God, the Author of the Old Covenant, it pertained to signify to all, by permitting the destruction of the Temple and the nationality of Israel, that the legal end of Mosaism had come."
 Beurlier, Le Monde juif au temps de ]ésus-Christ, I, 44-47. Cf. Stapfer, Palestine in the Time of Christ, pp. 265-284; Dollinger, The Gentile and the Jew, II, 304 ff.
 Beurlier, op. cit., p. 43.
 Idem, p. 48.
 On the Temple at Jerusalem, see art. "Temple" in the Dict. de la Bible. Cf. Vogué, Le Temple de ]érusalem; Perrot and Chipiez, Histoire de l'art dans l'antiquité, IV, 205-211; Stapfer, op. cit., pp. 403-453.
 St. Thomas, Summa theol., III, q. 37; q. 40, 4, 0; q.47, 2 ad 1.
 Le Camus, L'Œuvre des apôtres, I, 46.
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