Fr. Augustine Marie (Hermanm) Cohen, Jewish convert to Catholicism
Today, in the old prayers for the Octave of Christian Unity, prayers were asked by Holy Mother church for the "conversion of the Jews." I once heard Roy Shoeman give a passionate talk on the need to share Christ with our Jewish friends. Christ our Lord, His Church, and His sacraments were instituted for all men, but especially for the Jewish people. To assume that salvation can be acheived by the Old Testament law is contrary to the teaching of Christ and the Apostles.
We are wrong, even cruel, if we assume that our Jewish friends and neighbors can arrive at the beatific vision without Christ. Saint Peter, Saint John, Saint Paul, and others endured torture after having proclaimed these truths. This is not a popular teaching, but it is true. The false theology of "bi-covenantalism" which teaches that Gentiles are saved by Christ, and the Jews are saved by following the law is absolutely heretical.
Saint Peter preached (to a Jewish audience):
Be it known to you all and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath raised from the dead, even by him, this man standeth here before you, whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:10-12
The short of it is that Jews, like all human beings, can only be saved by calling on the name of Jesus. This doctrine merely restates the teaching of Christ, which Saint John preserved: "Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me." (Jn 14:6) Christ was speaking directly to fellow Jews on this matter.
This places a responsibility on us to lovingly and graciously share Christ with our Jewish friends and neighbors. If you are up to the task, you need to equip yourself to know both your Catholic Faith and the Old Testament.
There are many good resources out there for this. If you would like an all-in-one book written for lay-Catholics in mind, please consider taking a look at my book The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholicism (for a limited time, it's on sale now at amazon.com). The book begins with an interesting and humorous exchange that I once had with a Jewish rabbi. It could be a great book to give to a Jewish friend. Hundreds of Jewish people have read the book, and I've yet to receive one negative response. Some Jewish readers began the process of conversion, others retain questions or objections. Either way, it begins a conversation.
I'd like to hear from you about your experiences discussing the Catholic Faith with Jewish friends. What are good ways to begin the conversation? What successes have you seen? Please leave a comment below. How do we continue to pray and evangelize our Jewish friends?
Also, if you've read my book The Crucified Rabbi, I would be very appreciated if you'd leave feedback and/or a review at amazon.com. Here's the link for that. Thank you!
PS: Here's a fantastic sermon on the conversion of Father Augustine Marie Cohen (depicted above this post): Sermon on the Miraculous Conversion of Fr Augustine Marie.