Review: Jesus Wasn’t Killed by the Jews: Reflections for Christians in Lent

Jesus Wasn't Killed by the Jews: Reflections for Christians in LentJesus Wasn’t Killed by the Jews: Reflections for Christians in Lent by Jon M. Sweeney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Prompted by yet another shooting in a Jewish synagogue, this series of short yet thoughtful essays are something that every Christian should read. This is especially true for any Catholic who wishes to remain faithful to the teaching of the Church as elucidated in Vatican II’s document Nostra Aetate.

And yet there is more to do, more to think about than simply embracing the official position of the Catholic Church (for those who are Catholics) or being faithful to the revelation to be found in that which we call the Bible (for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. And this small tome is one way of introducing the broader context in which Christians need to live if we are to truly see our Jewish brothers and sisters as our brothers and sisters and not just as them.

As a preacher who regularly needs to delve into the Scripture readings proclaimed during the Church’s liturgy, there is much I took from this book that will give me pause to think next time I come across the phrase “the Jews” in one of the Gospel or New Testament readings. There is a nuance there that cannot be ignored or misunderstood, glossed over or misinterpreted. As a preacher, if I am to be faithful to that calling, I will need to take on the lessons to be found in this book – and many others that this book will require from other sources – lest I fail to properly preach the Christian message that I have been entrusted to preach.

As a listener to the Scriptures proclaimed, and as a reader of the Scriptures, the task falls to me – as it does to anyone who also is a listener and reader – to be prepared to engage with the themes of this book when it comes to understanding the phrase “the Jews” lest we all perpetuate the misinterpretation that has brought such horror to those who live as Children of the Covenant, God’s Holy People.

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