If you use as reference the book “Awit at Salaysay ng Pasiong Mahal,” which is used in the “pabasa” (the chanting of the Passion story during Holy Week) among Tagalogs, the answer is: The Jews did it.
The pabasa is the chanting of the birth, life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. It is a tradition that dates back to the 17th century when the Philippines was still a colony of Spain. It has served as a way for Christians to follow Christ and witness his sacrifice and triumph.
Sr. Helen Graham, a biblical scholar and theologian, has cited the need to adjust the Pasyon, as it continues to blame the Jews for the death of Jesus, despite the promulgation of “Nostra Aetate” (In Our Time) by Pope Paul VI in 1965.
A Vatican II document, “Nostra Aetate,” introduced reforms in Church policies, including the interactions with non-Christians like Jews and Muslims.
Section 4 of “Nostra Aetate,” repudiates the centuries-old charge of “deicide” (the killing of God) against the Jews.
It states that while the Jewish authorities and their followers pressed for the crucifixion of Jesus, his death “cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today.”
“Awit at Salaysay,” which was copyrighted in 1949 based on a 1884 translation from Spanish, has general references to the Jews (“mga Hudyo”)—without distinction—as the ones responsible for the arrest, trial, and the decision to have Jesus crucified.
The references include “Ang pagdakip kay Hesukristo ng mga Hudyo” (The arrest of Jesus Christ by the Jews), “Ang paghaharap ng mga Hudyo sa ating Panginoong Hesukristo kay Anas” (The presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ before Annas), “Ang ikalawang paghaharap ng mga Hudyo sa ating Panginoong Hesukristo kay Kaipas” (The second presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ by the Jews before Caiphas), “Ang paghahatid ng mga Hudyo kay Pilato sa ating Panginoong Hesukristo” (The presentation by the Jews of our Lord Jesus Christ before Pilate), and “Nang iharap ng mga Hudyo ang ating Panginoong Hesukristo sa Haring Herodes” (When our Lord Jesus Christ was brought by the Jews before King Herod).
“Awit at Salaysay” also refers to false or perfidious Jews (“mga lilong Hudyo”) as the ones who killed Jesus (“lilo” in Tagalog could also mean renegade, traitor, treacherous, turncoat, unfaithful); “apat ang pakong totoo, na ipinako kay Kristo ng mga lilong Hudyo” (four nails were used to crucify Christ by the perfidious Jews), and “Di mo baga natatalos na iyong anak ng Diyos ay pinatay ng Hudyo?” (Don’t you realize that the son of God was killed by the Jews?).
Aside from “mga lilong Hudyo,” other pejorative references to the Jews include: “mga Hudyong taksil” (treacherous Jews), “mga Hudyong buhong” (mad Jews) and “Hudyong mga sukaban” (disloyal, treacherous Jews).
In her short essay, “Who Killed Jesus?,” Sr. Maureena Fritz, a cofounder of Bat Kol Institute in Jerusalem, studied the historical situation at the time of the story of the Passion of Christ and the time the Gospels were written. (Bat Kol Institute was formed as a response to “Nostra Aetate”).
Fritz noted that Jerusalem was under Roman rule; the office of the high priest in the temple became a political tool in the hands of the Romans and “Annas and Caiaphas and the priests came to be little more than religious functionaries of the Roman administration” and “these men do not represent the Jewish people.”
So who killed Jesus? In summary, Fritz said: “The two guilty partners are, first, the Romans did the dirty job; crucifixion was a Roman punishment, not a Jewish one. Second, the priests, the leaders of the religious establishment, functionaries of Rome, charged with keeping the peace.”
She added: Jesus did create a disturbance near the temple when he drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold doves (Mt 21:12).
Caiaphas, who sent Jesus to his death, summed up his ultimate purpose in the principle that the whole nation is more important than a single individual.
With “Nostra Aetate,” the Vatican moved for reconciliation between Christians and Jews. The document acknowledges past judgmental errors in portraying and teaching that the Jewish people had forfeited their place as children of God by rejecting Jesus as the Messiah. It reminds the Christian world that Jesus, Mary his mother, and all the disciples were Jews.
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