The mission of this website is to offer helpful ideas and resources to clergy and to all who read from the Lectionary during Sunday services so that potential anti-Judaism in these readings can be avoided, not fostered or reinforced, however unintentionally.
This mission arises from the fact that several dozen of the Lectionary’s New Testament readings, over the three-year cycle, if not dealt with carefully, can reinforce, or even introduce, antipathetic attitudes toward Jews and Judaism. Historically, these negative attitudes have nurtured anti-Semitism which has caused so much suffering to Jews and the Jewish community.
In the history of the Church, readings which seem to condemn “the Jews” or to blame them for Christ’s death often have led to pogroms and other horrendous acts of Christian persecution of the Jewish community. Such readings are among the key ingredients that have enabled Christians not only to stand aside and not object when Jews were being vilified and killed, but also to actively participate in such persecution and even, in many cases, to initiate it.
The most glaring and shameful example is, of course, the Holocaust. Those few Christians who did speak and act against this mass murder (often paying for it with their lives) were very small in number when compared with those who did not.
In modern times, we don’t massacre Jews or force them to leave their home countries as Christians did in the past. But our world still carries a current of demonic anti-Semitism which certain New Testament passages, if not treated with care, can stir up and keep alive.
The purpose of this website is to counter this anti-Semitism by addressing the anti-Judaism that some New Testament readings may convey.
NOTE TO THOSE WHO USE THE REVISED COMMON LECTIONARY:
The Lectionary from which our problematic passages have been taken is The Lectionary for Mass: For Use in the Dioceses of the USA, which commonly is used in Catholic and some other worship services. Both of us are Catholics, so this is the Lectionary with which we are most familiar. However, we know that many Protestant churches use The Revised Common Lectionary, which, in a few cases, has readings different from The Lectionary for Mass. As time allows, we assure you that, in the future, this website will include readings from both Lectionaries. We hope that any inconvenience will be temporary.