Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Praying for the Jewish People

On Good Friday the Church uses a an ancient form of the intercessions in which there is a brief introduction, silence and a prayer. In the intercessions we pray for absolutely from the Church and its leaders to atheists. One group we pray for in a special way are the Jews.The text of the prayer is as follows:

Almighty ever-living God,
who bestowed your promises on Abraham and his descendants, 

graciously hear the prayers of your Church,
that the people you fi
rst made your own
may attain the fullness of redemption.

I mention this because today's first reading has at certain times been misused by Christians.  Peter's words
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made him both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”

sadly have been used as an excuse for a blanket condemnation of all Jews at all time.

We must remember that Peter would have been speaking to the specific Jews in Jerusalem who would have in fact been the crowds yelling "Crucify Him". He was also using a common rhetorical style of the period.

The Second Vatican Council's declaration on relations with non-Christians states our position clearly.

True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ;(13) still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ.