World Faiths & Religions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Catholics and Jews?

There are lots of similarities and differences between Catholics and Jews.  First, the things that unite us: 1) God as Father and Creator, 2) that we are both chosen by God to be God's special people, 3) the Old Testament which we both use and revere, 4) all of the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets like Abraham and Moses and David 5) the struggle to be holy 6) the place of prayer in our lives 7) and the need to be concerned with our brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Where we differ, however, is in our understanding of who Jesus is. Jesus was a Jew. A devout, practicing Jew. He went to temple, observed the Sabbath and holy days, prayed the psalms, observed the dietary laws, and was a respected Jewish leader. But we Catholics believe that Jesus was also the Son of God, the Messiah that the Old Testament prophets had predicted would come one day to save us from our sins. Jews are still waiting for the Messiah to come. They do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, though Jews recognize Jesus as a very holy Jew, a great Jewish prophet, but they reject the idea that Jesus was the Messiah. They are still waiting for the Messiah to come.

But with the Jews, Catholics are waiting for the Messiah to come back. Catholics believe that the Messiah will return at the end of time to judge the world...So in a way, both Jews and Catholics are still waiting for the Messiah together. The Jews are waiting for the first coming of the Messiah, while Catholics are waiting for the Second Coming...

But while we are all waiting, it's important to remember that we Catholics have Jewish roots. Our Mass is rooted in the Passover meal and in the synagogue liturgies of the first century. Many of our feasts and seasons, like Pentecost, are rooted in Jewish feast days. Many of our ideas about God and the world come from our Jewish roots...

So in a world that seems to be increasingly divided and disunited, while we wait for the Messiah to come and straighten it all out, we should focus on what unites us all....and then when the Messiah gets here, He might actually recognize those who have been waiting for Him...

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