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Rosalind Moss reviewed Second Exodus in the National Catholic Register, August 6-12, 2000 (Vol. 76, No. 32), page 8. This is her review in its entirety:
The apostle Paul wrote to the early Church in Rome: “For if their (Israel’s) rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15). Martin Barrack is one whose acceptance of God’s Messiah has given us a thrilling glimpse into the reality of Paul’s words. His “gift to Jesus” in the writing of Second Exodus has provided the Church, and all who would seek her, a most unique and valuable work.
For the Catholic desiring to introduce a Jewish friend to the Messiah, and wanting a deeper understanding of his own faith and its Jewish roots, this book is a long-awaited treasure. For the Jewish soul who has the courage to explore the Christian claim, this book is written by a kinsman who speaks with an understanding heart. The fear of the Jew is that, in embracing Christianity, he will be a traitor to his own people and abandon his heritage and the God of Abraham for the “Gentile God.” Right at the start, Barrack addresses this and other issues as he opens with the Shema -- “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4) -- and affirms that God is one, and that the Blessed Trinity is indeed the God of Abraham. Four times Barrack affirms: We never abandon Him.”
”Jews do not pray to ’one-third of the Trinity.’ The Blessed Trinity is the God of Abraham, more clearly revealed,” he writes. “We have always prayed to Jesus, but not by name.”
It is not uncommon for a son or daughter of Israel to adhere to hereditary Jewishness even while doubting or denying the very existence of God. If one is to believe that the Son of God is indeed the promised Messiah, he must first believe that God is (Hebrews 11:6). And so Barrack deals briefly with the objections many have to the existence of God and contrasts some primary differences between Catholic and non-Catholic theology.
With the warmth of a Jewish papa, Barrack issues a most wonderful invitation: “Come and meet God.” How utterly remarkable and marvelous that such an invitation can be made, that the unapproachable God of Mount Sinai has made himself known -- more, desires to be known.
Often I have said that the most Jewish thing a person can do is to be Catholic. The evidence is here. From the Old Covenant to the New, through the seven sacraments to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the reader is immersed in the Jewish roots of his faith and in their ultimate fulfillment in Christ and his Church. The section on the Mass alone, for many, will be worth the price of the book.
In Second Exodus, Barrack has provided us not only with a concise, yet meaningful, catechism of our faith, but also with a manual for living. He returns again and again to the theme that our lives are lived for God. We are bought with a price; all we have is a gift and, in imitation of the one who gave his all for us, we are to give of ourselves so others might share in the eternal inheritance.
There is something profound and affecting in the spare and simple way Barrack describes the way Catholics live. “Catholics who commit a mortal sin,” he explains, “immediately try to make a perfect act of contrition and then, at the earliest possible time, go to confession.” He also beautifully articulates what we are, and as a result do, as God’s people -- there’s no preaching of what we should be or do. The effect is instructive reading even for those already familiar with the information, and an inspiring vision for those not yet in the fold of what it is to be a child, a beloved child, protected and cared for in God’s New Israel.
Second Exodus is a most fitting title for this work. In his discussion of the name Jesus, which Barrack explains is the English translation of the Hebrew Yeshua, meaning “Yahweh (God) saves,” that name which the archangel Gabriel gave Mary “to express her Son’s mission and identity,” Barrack writes: “The name Yeshua fulfilled a striking pre-figuration. Moses, who gave his people the Law, was not permitted to enter the promised land. It was Joshua, the Hebrew Scriptures Yehoshua, “Yahweh (God) will save,” who completed the exodus by leading his people into the promised land of Israel.
Twelve centuries later, the Yeshua of the line of David completed the second exodus by leading His people into the promised land of God’s kingdom.”
I pray this book will see many reprintings and that future editions will afford a few needed references. For example, a source for the rabbis’ belief that “all sacrifices would cease when the Messiah came, except the Todah (thanksgiving) sacrifice,” would help. And readers would benefit by a glossary of terms (what does “ma nishtano” mean?), indexes by subject and Scripture, and a bibliography.
But these are small cavils in a book this rich. “An authentic call,” writes Barrack, “leads us where we didn’t intend to go.” I found that to be true, twice: first, from my own Jewish background to faith in the Messiah through evangelical Protestant Christianity, and then on to the fullness of all God has given on earth in the Catholic Church -- what Barrack calls “the Synagogue transformed by the Messiah.”
May this gift of the Father’s love lead many where they intended not to go, that all may know the fullness of the Father’s love in his son, our Messiah, who came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.
Rosalind Moss is a staff apologist with Catholic Answers in El Cajon, California. She is also the sister of David Moss, president of the Association of Hebrew Catholics.
Copyright © 1999-2010 Martin K Barrack. All rights reserved.