Reflections from a Lector
In this holiest of seasons, we Christians are called to celebrate the love God showed for us by grafting us onto the “olive tree” of those first called into a sacred covenant relationship with God: the Jewish people (Romans 11).
It is hard for us to hear that our Christian faith has sometimes been twisted, through the centuries, to justify prejudice and violent attacks against Jews. It can be even harder for us to realize that parts of our own Scriptures—particularly some of the Passion narratives we read this week, and segments of the Book of Acts read during Easter season— have been misinterpreted to support this kind of thinking and action by Christians against Jewish people and faith, even though Jesus himself and his first disciples were Jewish.
How can we heal this?
As St Paul reminds us in Romans, we are all the grateful recipients of God’s boundless mercy. And “the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29)
There are many excellent resources. One is “homegrown” here at St Vincent’s, on the “Sermons without Prejudice” website that parishioner Dick Taylor developed with scholar David Efroymson: http://www.sermonswithoutprejudice.org
Watch for articles and commemorations this fall for the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate (In Our Time), a 1965 Vatican document that rejects the centuries-old accusation of “deicide” (literally, “God-killing”) some Christians have leveled against Jews. Nostra Aetate also encourages Christians and Jews to enter into dialogue with each other, to replace negative judgments with compassion and understanding. If you’d like to read it online: https://www.ewtn.com/library/councils/v2non.htm We’ll also have copies in church.
As we know from our own experience as a “blended” parish, we thrive whenever we see the face of God and listen for the voice of God in each other. Seek opportunities to get to know Jewish people. Find out about the Jewish faith. It is a font of wisdom and strength that continues to glorify God’s name. We are blessed to be sisters and brothers, all made in the divine image, all seeking to fill this world with God’s love and justice.
Written for St Vincent de Paul Parish by Mary Laver, Holy Week 2015