Our
Fellowship

Our
Branch

AHC G NZ Our Messianic Charism - Hebrew Catholics

Association of

Hebrew Catholics

New Zealand Branch

Our Charism and Purpose

www.hebrewcatholic.org.nz

Uncovering and reconnecting with our Hebrew heritage

 An Introduction

In this leaflet we have taken a few pages from our booklet, “Messianic Fellowship of the Household of God” as an introduction to what the Fellowship is on about. It makes reference to the whole volume which is available on our website.

We have chosen to put forward this short paper to try and establish a starting platform for building a fellowship which supports strong, loyal, sustained membership of our Holy Church in times of unprecedented confusion, attack, and in some cases, outright demolition. We are in the midst of a very serious and energetic programme to destroy our culture and its faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Messianic Fellowship has, therefore, arisen out of our awareness of the needs of people who believe in our Messiah and King and who also believe He remains the source and hope for the extension of His Kingdom in this world. We can therefore join together in acclaiming:

Jesus Christ (Messiah) is our King!
The real Jesus Christ
is the real answer
to the real needs
of this world!

Shalom!

 

 

Our Messianic Charism and Purpose

Uncovering and reconnecting with our Hebrew heritage

 

I   Our Use of Certain Terms

While we may not wish to become buried and lost in a myriad of words, we should at least know what is meant generally by the terms in our heading.

1.   We are uncovering a feature of the Church; it is already there, though somewhat obscured by a whole range of historic events, trends and customs. For some people, this may be a discovery, even seemingly, a re-introduction of a new perspective. For others it will be more of taking an old heirloom, giving it a good dusting and clean-up, and then letting it take its own place again.

2.   We are reconnecting with a very beautiful heritage which, although never lost in the Church, needs a little uncovering and explanation, as we have said. With study and training, we can all reconnect with the Hebrew elements of our Faith and culture. This will empower us to draw from the great depths of Judaeo-Christian spirituality and thus strengthen our Faith in a world desperately trying to suppress it.

3.   When we refer to something Hebrew, we usually mean associated with ancient Judaism up to the time of the Gospel accounts of Jesus. As a matter of respect for our Jewish brothers and sisters, we tend to leave the term “Jewish” for members of contemporary Judaism, and their venerable customs and culture which we much admire.

4.   For us the term Messianic is of special importance, since the coming of Yeshua the Messiah ― our Lord Jesus Christ ― is the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy, all of which is the key to understanding the Hebrew-Christian Scriptures.

       The term is frequently heard in the title “Messianic Jews”, and more recently, “Messianic Gentiles”. Our use of the term in our title is somewhat different, and this will be explained as we “unfold” our vision and goals.

5.   The term charism is not so well known. So let’s consider for a moment what a charism is.

Charisms are often referred to as the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Whilst the Sacred Scriptures highlight very special gifts to the
Church, the range can also be seen to include any gift with
which the Holy Spirit wishes to endow us, to help us carry out
our appointed tasks. Charisms tend to identify special works
the Holy Spirit turns our attention towards. They also
empower us to develop skills and spiritual stamina in
particular fields of endeavour that we may carry out God’s
Will to His Greater Glory.

We will go to some length in this leaflet to explain how we view our particular charism.

It is our Charism which answers a deep call within us to respond to God in a way He identifies as a particular and specific calling. This becomes therefore both an over-arching and unifying covering as well as an under-pinning of all we do. Thus it supports us in defining and living up to our purpose.

We will go some way in this document to demonstrate how we view our Charism and try to translate it into concrete action. It takes time for this to become clear and we should not be surprised, nor distressed, if we find ourselves at times struggling, at other times full of inspiration, only to settle down again to the “long, hard slog”. We need to be patient with ourselves and with others and pray much for the light of the Holy Spirit.

6.   We believe everyone can experience “fulfiment” in Jesus Messiah. All of the above points assume a Biblical understanding of the fulfilment achieved in and by Jesus Christ. Our article: “Fulfilment For All In Jesus Messiah” outlines our understanding of this great truth, and needs to be read as a key foundational paper in support of our Messianic Charism.

 

II   Our Messianic Charism:  

Bringing forth “the New and the Old”

A basis for clarifying our purpose.

Jesus said “Every scribe (Teacher of Torah) who has
been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven is like the
head of a household who brings forth from his storeroom
both the new and the old.”                (St. Matthew 13: 52.)

This is how we are called, in this apostolate, to serve God: to bring forth and teach the treasures of His Household, both new and old.

In light of this, we can identify our purpose and how it should be achieved.

Our Fellowship, seeking always to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, considers these treasures: “the new and the old,” as vital for the life of the Church in the world. Indeed, it is in the light of the Holy Spirit that we find our inspiration in the rediscovery of our heritage in both the “Old” as well as the “New” Testaments; in both the Hebrew and Christian cultures. We therefore understand our service, and the gifts given to us to put this into practice, to be the work God calls us to perform in harmony with other ministries within the Church. It is to share in the re-awakening within the Church, of its own Hebrew Messianic spiritual heritage — somewhat covered over by events in the world — but now re-emerging: quietly, gently, yet fervently in the perilous times we are experiencing. It is, indeed, a gift of the Holy Spirit and becoming recognised as part of the restoration within the Church, of its genuine charismatic and contemplative Messianic dimension.

For reading on Matthew 13: 44 to 52 see “Treasures New and Old“.

What we call our Messianic Charism refers to a way of seeing, interpreting, acting and passing on a heritage which is both truly Hebrew as well as Christian. A number of organisations have this as their purpose, each making their own particular contribution. Teaching, studying and learning are of very particular importance in the outworking of our charism.

In our corner of the Lord’s vineyard, the Church, we are profoundly aware of a particular feature which should dictate how we teach, study and learn. This directly helps in the restoring of the Hebrew Messianic Heritage for all its members. This feature reflects a distinctive manner witnessed in the teaching of the ancient prophets as well as that of St. John the Baptist and our Lord Himself. It is, for us, the crystal-clear standard which is to characterise all our work, and is thus identified as our core function. So what is this distinctive function?

Our charism is: to present in all our gatherings, the Person of Jesus Christ ― the Living Word — Jesus Christ, our Torah ― Christ our King, and His Holy Teaching in the simplest, plainest, most intelligible language possible for the edification of everyone present. This is to be evident in our written as well as oral teaching and is to draw from the full treasury of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

This standard permits no other mode of delivery than that which is offered in the language and culture of the people present at gatherings in which we participate.

Our Messianic Charism therefore requires and empowers us to achieve a specific purpose: ― to proclaim in plain, straightforward teaching drawn from the Old and New Testaments, in harmony with the teaching of the Church, that:

Jesus Christ (Messiah) is our King!
The real Jesus Christ
is the real answer
to the real needs
of this world!

 

We would like to declare emphatically also that an important feature of our Charism is that it is centred in the family home and to be seen always as supporting the clergy of the parish in their teaching role. Our Fellowship seeks to help small home groups come together, in which appropriate study, meditation, worship and hospitality flourish.

Our “Messianic Gospel Reflections” ― Years A, B, and C are intended to help serve this urgent real need. Thus we seek to share with our neighbour, the fruit of our study and contemplation of the Divine Word: Christ the Word ― the Word proclaimed and the Word made fresh for us.

In this matter we are much encouraged by St. Paul of the Cross, one of the great teachers of prayer and the spiritual life, who instructed the members of his religious congregation in this way:

•   No member is to teach or preach in so lofty and elevated a
     style that the message becomes obscure to the average listener.

•   They should break the bread of God’s Word with clarity and
     sincerity, so that it will be more effective in reaching hearts
     and in promoting the greatest glory of God and the salvation
     of souls.

•   They are to teach the people how to meditate in the easiest
     and simplest way possible.

•   They are not to favour locations where there will be large
     crowds but are to seek out the poor and needy, going even to
     remote places including those neglected by other apostolic
     ministers. (From the original Rule of St Paul of the Cross 1741)

These are important foundation principles of our Fellowship as well.

 

 

III   Our Purpose
A Model for Implementing Our Purpose

 

The PURPOSE of the messianic Fellowship is ―
(true to our Charism of drawing from the Old and New Testament traditions)

to:

PROCLAIM:                ―   Jesus Christ is our King!

                                          and:

DEMONSTRATE:         ―   The real Jesus
                                   ―    is the real answer
                                   ―    to the real needs of the world!

BY:                               •    Personal Renewal in the Biblical tradition;

                                    •    Restoration of our joint Hebrew Christian
                                          heritage;

                                    •    Service within and beyond the Church;

IN:                                ≠    our own home;

                                     ≠    our parish family;

                                     ≠    our own community as our extended family,    
                                           remembering that they too, are people for
                                           whom God cares.

 

Action!

We invite all who would like to join us, to take together, three exciting steps towards extending Christ’s Kingdom in this world and enjoying His fellowship:

•   Step 1: Taking spiritual Renewal seriously.

•   Step 2: Helping in the Restoration of our Hebrew-Christian heritage.

•   Step 3: Giving ourselves in the Service of Christ’s Body, the Church.

 

We expand each of these steps in the complete volume of:

Messianic Fellowship of the Household of God.”

 

 

IV   Messianic, Charismatic, and Evangelistic

Application in our work

It will have become evident that we are, as we wrote, “crystal-clear” that all of our ministries should take place in an atmosphere of plain, everyday language understood by all present. For us, to remain faithful to our calling, this is a pressing standard to be maintained strictly and literally. In this way we exemplify the Messianic, Charismatic, and Evangelistic charism of our Lord Jesus Christ who never departed from this practice. Our use of the term “charismatic” does not imply any connection with what is commonly referred to as the Charismatic Renewal. Similarly, our use of the term “messianic” does not indicate connection with the various organisations using the banner, “Messianic Jews / Judaism.

The Hebrew Catholic Apostolate is Messianic, Charismatic, and Evangelistic, in all that it proclaims.

Messianic: Drawing from our roots

The great joy associated with our Charism is how it keeps us connected with the core of our Judaeo-Christian heritage. So, how can this be expressed to help us understand the precious gift of our charism?

If we recall the essential core truth of the Hebrew Faith (distilled and refined to pristine clarity) it is usually quoted as being encapsulated in the Great Commandment:

“Hear, O Israel the Lord our God is Lord alone!”
(This sentence is called after the first word — in Hebrew — “Schema”
— hear, listen.)

This was reaffirmed by Jesus who was politely asked one day   (Mark 12: 29):

“Which is the first of all the commandments?”

Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God
is Lord alone!

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your
soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength’.
                                                                             (Deuteronomy 6: 4 — 5).

The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as you love
yourself’.”                                                                      (Leviticus 19: 18).

We note how Jesus followed the distinguished rabbis of His day and attached Leviticus 19: 18 as part of the summary of the whole of the Torah (God’s Teaching recorded in Sacred Scripture).

Charismatic: Jesus is the Torah made flesh

The first Christians, who saw themselves as loyal, observant Jews, understood Jesus (as Son of God) to be the Word of God — the Teaching — the Torah in the flesh. St. John, in his Gospel account, recorded this belief. It was not a new article of Faith, but the fulfilment of Prophecy: “Jesus Messiah is Christ our Torah!

In His teaching ministry, Jesus had claimed to be such:

“I am the Path, the Truth and the Life.”            (St. John 14: 6)

All His listeners knew what He meant — He was claiming to be, in His Person, the Divine Truth of God, the Truth which provided the safe Path (or way) for God’s People, to lead them to their Heavenly Home where they would enjoy the Life for which they were created.

Evangelistic: We are called to carry this Truth to the ends of the earth

We are a People of the Word. Our calling (vocation) is to serve within the teaching ministry of the Church (Christ’s Body) and help its members to be faithful, informed and observant disciples — His Talmidim (His students).

Here we find no room for anything which might distract from this pursuit, which, after all, is commanded:

•     “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;
        listen to Him.”                                            (Matthew 17: 5).
•     “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
                                                                             (Luke 11: 28).
•     “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising
        them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
        Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all I have commanded
        you.”                                                         (Matthew 28: 20).

In this way we are called to absolute fidelity to the plain, bold, yet merciful and loving message of Jesus in the Gospels. Nothing is permitted to displace or compromise this ultimate and binding principle.

 

Finale

Our hope is that anyone reading this brief reflection will have caught some of our vision, and would like to be part of shaping it for the future.

The complete paper, “Messianic Fellowship” fills out the vision a little more, but also leaves room for new members to make their contributions and share their interest in fellowship, worship and service. Our current “mode of operation” is provisional, and very much awaiting the wisdom, experience and commitment of any who may choose to join in our effort to serve our Lord and His Church.

The paper is available from the front page of our website: www.hebrewcatholic.org.nz

May you be richly blessed by our Lord in your desire to rally to His service in whatever way the Holy Spirit leads you.

Shalom!

 

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