We share a lot in faith
As Catholics, we generally share certain beliefs with most Protestants and Jews. We worship the same God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is our Father and Creator of heaven and earth. He created humans to be in His image and likeness. Yet we recognize that, due to human rebellion, we live alienated from God. Persecution, poverty, mutual hatred, abuse and discrimination are the symptoms of our spiritual malaise. We all need to repent, atone for our sins, and return to union with God, a task that confronts us all, but with God’s grace is made possible.
For Jews, this alienation of our world results from freely willed choices made by individuals. Christians see it as a collective disobedience summed up in the doctrine of Original Sin. The Christian vision is that the world is unredeemed and separated from an intimate shared life with our Abba – Father. We need to reveal God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
We seek authority from the same book. God’s creative and redeeming activity, along with our human response to Him, is recorded in the Bible’s Testaments, both Old and New. Wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, righteousness and inspiration all flow to us from that commonly shared font. For Jews, God’s word has expressed itself through the Law, the prophets and their own history. For Christians, the same is true, with the added dimension that we understand God’s revelation in His Word made flesh, in His Christ, whom we believe to be the Messiah.
We look for the Coming of the Messiah. Together, we await the establishment of the Kingdom of God, a reality that will be brought about by the Messiah. Christians live in the time that is “already, but not yet,” the time in which God’s kingdom has been established in Christ and will be brought into its fullness by our co-working with God, culminating with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ whom we believe to be the longed-for Messiah.
We share a well-spring of moral principles. The moral principles of the Torah, the unalienable rights and dignity of every human being, and our shared life as brothers and sisters under God, our Father, are the foundations of all of our efforts for peace and justice. All human laws, rules of conduct and norms of human behavior flow from that commonly shared well.
Respecting each other’s beliefs will not weaken our own. The Book and the Covenant bind us together, however tenuously. Jews will be saved in their adherence to God’s Covenant as expressed in the Law and the Prophets. Christians, likewise, will be saved in their adherence to the New Covenant given them in Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection.
Note: The primary source from which I have drawn these observations is Dabru Emet, A Jewish Statement on Christians and Christianity signed by more that 170 Jewish scholars in September 2000.