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Welcome to the Second Exodus section on the Jewish-Catholic dialogue. Evangelization aims as bringing the other into one’s own faith, while dialogue aims at better understanding of the other’s faith. This section supports the dialogue. Most Jews, and many Catholics, do not realize how very Jewish the Catholic Church is underneath its Latin language and culture. Father Louis Bouyer writes, “There is nothing in the fundamental, permanent institutions of the Church which is not Jewish in its source.”
|Broad Guidelines||Some Specific Points for Discussion|
Holy Mother Church invites us to participate in the Jewish-Catholic dialogue. Her guidelines appear in the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate § 4.
The Jewish faith and the Catholic faith are different stages in God’s authentic self-revelation to His people.
The Church was instituted by Jesus of Nazareth, a devout Jew whose actual Hebrew name, the name He used every day, was Yeshua, pronounced YESHua, Salvation. Jesus’ mother Mary was a devout Jew. All of the twelve original Apostles were Jews. St. Paul was a Jew. Sts. Matthew, Mark and John were Jews. How could the Church that Rabbi Yeshua instituted be anything but Jewish in its heart? The Latin culture that the Church adopted to attract the Gentiles who became most of its people is an overlay on its essentially Jewish character.
Nostra aetate § 4 reminds us:
God loves the Jewish people, and longs for the day when they will recognize their Messiah and stream into the Church.
The Jewish authorities pressed Pilate to crucify Jesus. The moral responsibility belonged entirely to those particular men. The Jewish people in Jerusalem and in the countryside had no say in that decision and so cannot be held responsible. And certainly Jews who lived during the past two thousand years up to the present day had no say and so also cannot be held responsible. God continues to love the Jewish people. We, His image and likeness, are called to reflect His love. Pope Pius XI in September 1938 proclaimed, “We are all spiritual Semites.”
We are called to proclaim Christ to the Jewish people as Jesus of Nazareth did. We live holy lives so that Jews will see Him in us. When Jews see us filled with the joyful love of God, which they know is God’s greatest command for them in the Shma, Deut 6:4-9 and see us love one another, which they also recognize from the Torah, Lev 19:18 they will see in us the fulfillment and completion of what they have already begun.
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