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Evangelizing a Jewish aquaintance QUESTION from Lori Caputo Adler March 7, 2000 Yesterday while working at our local food coop a secular Jewish woman told me that a Jew could never hold Jesus as the Messiah because the Jews believe that the Messiah will usher in a period of great peace, joy and holiness. She was very firm in her view and she said, Look at the world, how can you possibly believe that Jesus was the Messiah? My immediate reply was that a person has to cooperate with the Messiah. We all have to do our part. She then talked of Yom Kippur and how the Jews take personal responsibility for their sins. They don't believe a messiah would take on and cleanse anyones sins. As we were working and it was not an appropriate time to engage in an extended conversation, I told her I would think about what she said and we will follow up in the future. Why did I draw a blank? I am upset with myself. Can you help me by pointing me in the direction of pertinent scripture readings,etc. I thought afterwards of Isaiah and will research this. I have had alot of success evangelizing from the heart and from my actions yet I know I need to incorporate the intellectual in order to be effective (especially with my Jewish aquaintances). Please point me in the right direction if you get the chance in your very busy schedule. May God bless you for all the help you give to others. Sincerely, Lori Caputo Adler
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on March 17, 2000 Dear Mrs. Adler:
It is obvious that your friend is rationalizing to avoid accepting the truth. Of course Jews SHOULD understand completely the concept of sacrifice of sins. After all, there were many sacrifices that the Old Testament Jews performed. The idea of taking personal responsibility WITHOUT a sacrificial element is nonsense.
As for the Messiah bringing a period of great peace, joy and holiness, Jesus DID do that -- in our hearts and souls.
One reason the Jews rejected Jesus, and perhaps Judas thought the same, was that they expected the Messiah to be a POLITICAL Messiah. When Jesus did not accept the crown of a king and wage war on the Romans many Jews rejected him.
What people do not understand, even today, even Catholics, is that while social justice is to be promoted and is the Will of God, whether or not we have that social justice is not relevant. The only freedom we need is the freedom that comes from our soul being redeemed and imbued with sanctifying grace that brings us into fellowship with God. NOTHING else matters really.
But short-sighted and immature humans only see the material and thus demand political and social justice to the point of rejecting the only true freedom that comes with Christ.
I am sorrowed by the plight of the Jews. Jesus replaced they Levitical system. They were meant to be Christians. There was never an intention on God's part to be two faiths. Jesus fulfilled the Law of the Old Testament and brought a new law. A new magisterium was seated in Peter and the Apostles.
Because Christianity was meant to be the evolution from Judaism, because God only has one magisterium, the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. It had to be. The place of sacrifice had to be moved from the Temple and lamb to the altar of the Eucharist, the final Lamb of God.
Witnessing to Jews is a specialized form of evangelism. This is not my field.
There are some ministries that specialize in evangelism to Jews. I would recommend checking them out.
Sorry, at the moment I cannot think of the one or two good ministries that deal with this. Maybe some of our readers will know and email me. If I find out, I will post a followup.
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