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It is evident to those who pray the breviary that the sermons of the Fathers in regard to the Jews must be read with a profound knowledge of the historical-sociological background from which they have sprung. Even when this is understood much harm can be done by these negative references inserted into the "Opus Dei". One can find many examples among which are the following:
Epiphany, Janary 6th
Lesson 8 : With all the signs which point to the birth and death of the Lord, consider how stony were the hearts of those Jews who would know him neither through prophecies nor through miracles.
Lesson 9 : All the insensible elements of nature knew him but even up to this minute the hearts of the unbelieving Jews will not recognise him as God harder than rock - will not be rent in penitence.
Lesson 5 and 6, St. Augustine on Ps. 639 v.2.,
Lesson 5 : You know what a gathering together there was of wicked Jews... Ungrateful for all these remedies of his, like men delirious, in high fever, etc.
Response: There was darkness while the Jews crucified. Jesus...
Lesson 6 : Let not the Jews say t We have not killed Christ, for to this end they gave him to Pilate the judge in order that they themselves might seem, as it were, innocent of his death... The wickedness of their crime they wished to cast back upon a human judge; but did they deceive the judge who is God? ... But far more innocent was he, Pilate,than they ... But if he is guilty because he did it against his will, are they innocent who compelled him to do it ? By no means. But he gave sentence against him and commanded him to be crucified: and in a manner himself killed him; you also, 0 you Jews, killed him.
September 14th, Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Lesson 8. St.Leo: Sermon 8 on the Passion of Our Lord.
... all that long day you spread out your arms to a people who would not believe, who contradicted you, when the whole world knew your majesty must be acknowledged. You drew all things to yourself, 0 Lord, when all the elements of nature expressed their horror of the crime of the Jews... You drew all things to yourself, Lord, when the veil of the
temple was rent, the Holy of Holies separated from the unworthy priests. Shadow was changed into substance, prophecy into reality, and the law into the Gospel.
Fortunately, in the process of revision, these misleading readings will be eliminated.