Skip to comments.Convert Traces Parallels Between Jewish, Catholic Faiths
Posted on 09/25/2003 2:20:26 PM PDT by Tantumergo
The Catholic Church didnt just begin with the coming of Jesus, said Bonnie Motl, a Jewish convert to Catholicism. "It was expanded. It was completed."
Jesus birth "is not a chronological event," she said. "Jesus is with us right from the beginning."
Motl, an accomplished writer, singer and speaker, was the keynote speaker at the annual Brent Society Breakfast Sept. 21 at the Hilton Arlington. She spoke on "The Jewish Roots of the Catholic Faith."
Motl, who converted to Catholicism 20 years ago after attending Catholic Mass with her future husband, said she knew she was home when she heard the words, "This is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.
"I dont look at myself as a convert, but rather as a completed Jew," she said.
Motl traced the parallels between the Jewish faith and Catholicism through the Old Testament and New Testament. Jesus and Mary, who were both Jewish, are referenced in the Book of Genesis, she said. "Jesus lived a Jewish life. He spoke Hebrew. The disciples were all Jewish."
The Torah, or the first five books of the Old Testament, is the central guide to Judaism, Motl said. Jews also rely heavily on the Torah, or oral tradition, for many of their customs, teachings, commentary and religious discussion. When this oral tradition was written down, it was called the Talmud.
Like Judaism, Catholicism has a strong oral tradition, Motl said. "Not everything is written down. The Law continues to live and grow through oral and written tradition."
Jesus exactly fulfills the prophetic words of the Old Testament, Motl said. "He is the direct descendant of King David that was predicted by the prophets. Jewish tradition still believes that the Messiah will come from the family of David."
Motl said the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament, which held the Ten Commandments, held tremendous power for the Jews. Jesus represents the New Covenant and Mary is the "Ark" since she carried the "New Covenant" in her womb, she said.
The most powerful parallels between the Jewish and Catholic faiths can be found in the Book of Exodus, Motl said. "The Jewish Passover is the foundation for the celebration of the Catholic Mass."
Animal sacrifices were central to the Jewish faith, she said. Lambs were chosen for these blood sacrifices because they remain silent, they are obedient and dont put up a struggle.
At the first Passover, every Jewish family was told to slaughter a lamb, mark their doors with its blood and eat its flesh. This tradition is relived every year with the Seder meal, which has specific rules and orders.
During the Last Supper, which took place during the Jewish Passover, Jesus, "the Lamb of God," walks out on the meal before it was over, Motl said. Jesus took His last cup of wine on the cross.
"It would have been so much easier for the Jews to accept if Jesus had said that the bread and wine were symbols of His body and blood," Motl said. "But Jesus spoke literally. There was no confusion in what He was saying. Every prophecy in the Old Testament is fulfilled through Jesus, the New Covenant."
Motls address launched the beginning of another year of activities for the Brent Society. The next event will feature Catholic layman and award-winning author George Sim Johnson who will address the topic "The Catholic Laity: How Do We React to the Scandals?" The event will be held at St. Agnes Parish Hall in Arlington on Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m.
What a powerful and beautiful testimony to the Mother of God!! It reminds me of the hymn "O Holy Mary", in which one of the refrains reads:
"O holy Dwelling Place of God. O holy Temple of the Word. O holy Mary, holy Mother of God."
The following is from the www.secondexodus.com web site of Marty Barrack, another Jewish convert to catholicism.
Mt 22:36 "[Jesus], which is the great commandment in the law?" And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."
The first is from the Shema: Dt 6:4 "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might."
The Father explained: Dt 6:6 "These words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
This is an extremely powerful commandment. Jesus is telling us that we are to adore Him in every moment of our lives. We are to take our children from a very early age to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to fill their hearts with Jesus. We are to talk about our love for Jesus when we sit in our house. When we sit down to dinner, we are to bless our food in His name and speak of Him. When we sit down in the evening, we are to open a Bible and reflect on His Word. We are to talk of our love for Jesus when we walk in our neighborhood or in a shopping mall. We are to talk of our love for Jesus when we go to bed in the evening and when we wake up in the morning. Our love for Jesus should be reflected in our actions and should be constantly before our eyes. Even the outdoor entryways to our home should reflect our love for Jesus, so that every passerby will know that in this house Jesus reigns as King.
Lv 19:18 "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
The Jewish sage Yohanan ben Zakkai, most respected among the founders of Yavneh, taught that "loving our neighbor" means we have to take care of our neighbor's honor as much as our own, our neighbor's property as much as our own. Yet the ancient Israelites did not even love themselves very much. God called them to what is best for themselves but they rebelled, hurting themselves.
Jesus raised this commandment dramatically. He said, Mt 5:43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'" The Hebrew Scriptures accepted hating the enemies of God. Ps 139:21 "Do I not hate them that hate Thee, O Lord? And do I not loathe them that rise up against Thee? I hate them with perfect hatred." He changed Lv 19:18 "love your neighbor" to Mt 5:44 "Love your enemies," expanding the range of our love from the neighborhood to the world. God loves all His covenant family; the most miserable refugee remains God's image and likeness. Jesus told us, Mt 25:40 "As you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." The "coveting" commandments, Ex 20:17 prohibiting near occasions of sin, prefigured our Lord's raising several "love one another" commandments to new heights. The fifth commandment, Ex 20:13 "You shall not kill," became, Mt 5:22 "Every one who is angry shall be liable to judgment." The sixth, Ex 20:14 "You shall not commit adultery," became, Mt 5:28 "Every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." The eighth, Ex 20:16 "You shall not bear false witness," became, Mt 5:34 "Do not swear at all Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No.'"
In all of Torah, only ten commandments were written Ex 31:18 "with the finger of God."
The first three teach us how to love God: "You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve," "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain," and "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy."
The remaining seven teach us how to love one another: "Honor your father and your mother," "You shall not kill," "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife," and "You shall not covet your neighbor's property."
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Common roots, yes. But the branches diverged quite definitively by the fourth century C.E.
"I don?t look at myself as a convert, but rather as a completed Jew," she said.
This supercessionist mindset rankles us "Jewish Jews", who feel quite complete as we are.
Motl, who converted to Catholicism 20 years ago after attending Catholic Mass with her future husband
Somehow this doesn't surprise me.
Why ought the faith and belief of another "rankle" you now that she has accepted her place in the worldwide family of God?
Or, is your particular orientation normative for all Jews?
It certainly is a matter of perspective, isn't it?
Or, is your particular orientation normative for all Jews?
It is not "my particular orientation", but rather traditional Judaism, which should be normative for all Jews.
Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity both emerged out of 1st century Judaism. The sacramental Christian churches retained a certain amount of "Jewishness" in their liturgy. But theologically they evolved in a direction far from their Jewish roots. From the vantage of theology, modern orthodox Judaism is connected to its roots in a way which Catholicism is not.
"..and the Apostles declares the Church belongs not to the present, but has existed from the beginning. She was spiritual, just as was our Jesus; but he was manifested in the last days so that He might save us. And the Church, being spiritual, was manifested in the flesh of Christ."
There has always been only one Church and it grew in size and encompasses all so that no longer is there Greek or Jew and the convert recognises the truth and you, as of yet, haven't.
However, it is a Tradition of Judaism that at the time of the antiChrist/The last Days, Enoch and Elias will appear in Jerusalem and preach and convert innumerable souls.
Consider it a fact the good woman Bonnie anticipated their arrival.
I don't happen to agree, but I'm not going to debate you on what is part of your faith.
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