The Evangelical Pope | A Symphony Among Jews, Christians, and Muslims
Living Words from John Paul II
Edited by Abraham A. van Kempen
Published Sunday, October 17, 2021
Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love.
15 till the Spirit is poured on us from on high,
and the desert becomes a fertile field,
and the fertile field seems like a forest.
16 The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert,
his righteousness live in the fertile field (Isaiah 32: 15-16).
The Vatican, 17 January 2004 | I have taken part with deep emotion in this evening's concert dedicated to the theme of reconciliation among Jews, Christians and Muslims. With deep participation I listened to the splendid musical performance that gave us all an opportunity for reflection and prayer. I extend my greeting to the distinguished conductor, Maestro Gilbert Levine, the members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the choirs from Ankara, Kraków, London and Pittsburgh. The choice of pieces for this evening has brought to our attention two important points which, despite the different treatment they are given by the respective sacred texts, bind together in a certain way all those who refer to Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
2. The history of relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims is marked by patches of light and shadow and has unfortunately known some painful moments. Today we are aware of the pressing need for sincere reconciliation among believers in the one God.
This evening we are gathered here to give concrete expression to this commitment to reconciliation, entrusting ourselves to the universal message of music. We have been reminded of the recommendation "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless" (Genesis 17: 1). Every human being hears these words echoing within him: he knows that one day he will have to account to that God who observes his pilgrimage on earth from on High.
The unanimous hope that we express is that people may be purified of the hatred and evil that threaten peace continuously, and be able to extend to one another hands that have never been stained by violence but are ready to offer help and comfort to those in need.
3. Jews honour the Almighty as protector of the human person and the God of the promises of life. Christians know that love is the reason why God enters into relations with human beings and that love is the response he demands of them. For Muslims, God is good and can fill the believer with his mercies. Nourished by these convictions, Jews, Christians and Muslims cannot accept that the earth be afflicted by hatred or that humanity be overwhelmed by endless wars.
Yes! We must find within us the courage for peace. We must implore from on High the gift of peace. And this peace will spread like a soothing balm if we travel non-stop on the road to reconciliation. Then the wilderness will become a garden in which justice will flourish, and the effect of justice will be peace (Isaiah 32: 15-16).
Omnia vincit amor!
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