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Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to

abolish but to fulfill. ~ Matthew 5:17

I recently toured Barcelona’s medieval synagogue in the city’s Jewish quarter on El Call street. This synagogue likely stood on the same grounds as the one used by the Roman-era Jewish community. Archaeological excavations have uncovered Roman stones featuring Hebrew numerals for 18, a number symbolizing

hope for protection from Roman authorities.

As a Christian, visiting such sites is a complex experience; historical danger often stemmed from Christians themselves. Our guide recounted medieval pogroms, the unjust blame Christians placed on the Jewish community for the Black Plague and the long history of Christian persecution against Jews, including the horrors of the Inquisition. This highlights the importance of today’s reading: a reminder

that Jesus himself was Jewish and of the importance of the continuity of our traditions. There isn’t a separate God of the Old Testament and the New Testament; early Christianity held a nuanced view of the relationship between grace and law. Unfortunately, much of this continuity has become obscured over the centuries.

I believe we have a responsibility to learn more and repent for Christianity’s historical rejection of Jesus’ Jewish identity, and we must continue to recognize the deep connection between our faith communities.

Today’s readings

How can we actively promote and strengthen the understanding of the shared

heritage between Christianity and Judaism in our communities and foster mutual

respect and unity?

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