This important message, even though it was written sometime ago shows the impact of the Church for a just solution for the Cause of Jerusalem. This is the theme proposed to those who have the honor to open this encounter which is due to the spirit of faith, audacious and obstinated, of the Community of San Egidio.This same spirit of faith dwells in each one of us.
We are all gathered here, because we are all believers, and chirdren of the same father, Abraham. We are gathered in Jerusalem in order to reanimate our common roots, in this City which is at the same time unique and universal, eternal and actual, real and imaginary. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, if it is easy to sing you with the Harp of David, it is difficult to comprehend you for what you are in the complexity and the fullness of your vocation. We have to better understand the meaning of the belonging to Jerusalem of the three families issued form Abraham. Each one finds himself in it with different titles, but equally inadmissible.
The Jew feels himself in it at home geographically and historically; he is in the interior of his biblical history since the foundation of the city; in the depth of his heart and in the course of all his life he is fully impressed by it. "May my tongue remain stuck to my palate if I do not keep you in mind, Jerusalem" (Ps 132:7:6). when the Jewish people, exiled and dispersed, cried from seder to seder "Next year in Jerusalem", its identity was developing on a spiritual and temporal register, and it is on the Wailing Wall that we find the tragic beauty of the Jewish faith.
For the Christian, Jerusalem is the city where his faith was born, in the footsteps of Jesus who taught in the Temple the Gospel of love, who broke the bread of a new Covenant in the Cenacle, who gave his life on Golgotha, who ascended to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit of Pentecost on the Church of the Apostles. Jerusalem is the place where the fatalities of history were broken and where life has defeated death.
For the Moslem, Jerusalem is the holy place (Al Quds), where the Prophet, mounting over the winged horse, had his mystical experience and nocturnal ascension, conversing with Abraham, Moses and Jesus. It is also the rettige of the last believers who wilt be, at the last year of the Hegire, convocated on the place of Al Aqsa Mosque.
Morevoer for the three religions, it is in Jerusalem that The last trumpet will blow and call again to life Jews, Christians and Moslems. But the attachment of the three to Jerusalern does not stop at the holy places only. It goes through them and embraces the whole city in its prophetical vocation.
In order to talk in the right way of Jerusalem, man can only use the language of prophecy; it is the only one which cannot deform the plan of God. For the descendants of Abraham, the city is the prelude, the anticipation of a future of peace and happiness. All can belong to Jerusalem, but no one can claim it for himself excluding the others. It is not a place which one can possess. It is a place free from all belongings and ordinary sovereinities, a place where everyone should take off his human allegeances in order to belong to the only one allegeance which counts, that of God. Jerusalem can no more remain a place of tearing and divisions which are more unbearable here than everywhere. The city bears the signs of secular fights and wounds from different ages are still not healed. We have to purify and reconcile our memories afflicted by a history, full of rivalries, conquests and vengeances.
Conforming to the vision of Isaiah, Jerusalem, pacified, should become the place of brotherly understanding among all the children of Abraham. This harmony is more than a simple tolerance, ti is an attitude of resignation and tepid mutual support, it is mutual recognition and love of the other in his difference in the interior of the one heritage of Abraham. The name of Abraham which is the founder of our religious heritage risks sometimes to wipe off what distinguishes us, each other in the adoration of the one unique God.
This coexistence in Scaisalem, harder than that which revives diverse generations under one roof, requires first of all peace in the interior of each of the three families. We must prove that we are able to sanctify Jerusalem through peace within its walls and to open it to all the peoples. The Jerusalem peace, in tts most vivid meaning, in the most biblical meaning of the word shalom, cannot be a decree imposed by anyone. It calls for imagination, pondered audace and authentic faith. It comes from a conversion or spirits and heaits, and from at tentive education to the thousand small acts ofthe daily life. Ifjustice and truth are not in it equal for all, they are nojustice neither truth and there will be no lasting peace.
To live in Jerusalem, is to live in it with peace, with the most costly price. Pope John Paul II has never ceased to call for that peace, especially in his Apostolic Letter of April 20, 1984, dedicated to this city " which should be a place of peace and encounter for all the peoples of the Middle East". To live for Jerusalem is to make out of His mystery a message of peace for all the earth. Only the true believers in the merciful God can stand up to the challenge represented by the Gojiaths of the nuclear age, faced by the Davids who have in their besace only small pebbles cleansed by the torrent of the Spirit of forgiveness. To climb up to Jerusalem is to accept to be transformed into a pilgrim of peace. Fifteen days ago, I was in Sarajevo. I have visited the Rabbi, the Orthodox pastor and the Moslem Rais at Ulema. Two years ago, we had lived together jived under the bombs a triduum of reflexion and prayer. When I told them I "'as going to Jerusalem for this encounter, their faces were enlightened thinking on this unique city which symbolizes the promisse of a vision of peace. In Sarajevo, I have better than ever realized the great responsibility of reconciliation that have the children of Abraliam to whom God has entrusted the holy city as a patrimony, a heritage which creates duties more than rights. A passionate task (in the double meaning of passion as sufferings and feelings) which give to our encounter all its elevation and its weight. Jerusalem, the preferred by God, each one can say of thee: "this is my mother; in thee every man is born. Near thee every one can dance and sing: "all my sources are in thee" (cf Ps 87).davidic psalm: "Your friends may live in security; peace within your walls; for love ofmy brothcrs and my friends. I will say peace upon you" C Ps 122).
Peace, Shalom, Salam.