3rd Summit Christian-Muslim leaders, Rome 2014

His Eminence Jean-Louis Cardinal TAURAN,

Eminences,

First and foremost I would like to express my thanks for inviting me as an honorary guest to this important meeting.

Religion is a guide power for people since the very beginnings of history. Some sages of the Talmud understood that Cain murdered his brother Abel for religious passionate reasons[1]. One said: the Holy Temple will be built in my territory, the other said: it will be built in mine. Then stood up Cain and killed his brother. Religion is susceptible to raise love towards man and God, but when it is distorted could be transformed in the source of the most horrible hate.

Christians, Islamic and Jews, who rooted their faith in the Bible, have recognized that love is the key for human behavior. Rabi Akiva[2], the greatest of the sages of the Talmud, coincided with Jesus[3] that the verses which resumes the essence of the Pentateuch are: “Hear Israel the Lord our God is one Lord. And you shall love the Lord your God”[4], and “Love your neighbor as yourself”[5].

Similar concepts we read in the Coran, 4.Surah An-Nisaa : Ayah 36:

“Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful”

Therefore, it is our obligation, in this dramatic hour of bloodshed and destruction in sake of God, to stress and emphasize with all the power of our voices the truth of our faiths and to condemn all action inspired in hate and madness.

The Prophets are, through their words and attitudes, models for our behavior. In the book of Amos (3:8) we read:

The lion has roared; who does not fear? The Lord, the Almighty has spoken; who will not prophesy?

We are not Prophets and did not speak with God in the intimacy they did, but we as they, know the reveled willing of God from human being. Therefore to keep silence when the image of God engraved in each individual is destroyed by the violence rooted in an insane bigotry is a sin. The masters of our religions must shout out with their loudest voices that the highest sanctity of God lives in each human being. To murder in the name of God means to blaspheme God.

In the twentieth century were consummate horrible crimes in the name of new anthropomorphic religions. Nazism and Stalinism killed millions of human beings on the altar of their fanatic and insane beliefs. During the seventies of the last century, many went back to the old religions in order to find a sense to their lives. But their returning was not to the pureness and spiritual depth, but to extreme and aggressive aspects of them. As tolerance and acceptance of the other was not in the vocabulary of the anthropocentric religions, some new expression of the renewed traditional religions neither know about the other in his rights to be different.

The greatest achievement we can get in our human condition, according to the Bible, is to build up a world of peace. It is not an easy task. In the Book of Numbers[6] appears the formulation of the blessing that the priests have to invoke for the people of Israel, the last word of it, which undoubtedly reflects the major thing of the blessing, is peace.

Let us work for peace, performing the first an essential step for its achievement, which is: the installation of a language of peace in our world.

Will the Almighty bless our intentions and efforts.

 

Rabbi Abraham Skorka

Rector del seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano ‘M.T. Meyer’

Rabino de la Comunidad ‘Benei Tikva’

 

[1]                                                                                                          :בראשית רבה (תיאודור-אלבק) פרשת בראשית פרשה כב

ר’ יהושע דסיכנין בשם ר’ לוי שניהן נטלו את הקרקעות ושניהם נטלו המיטלטלין, ועל מה היו אותן הדינין, זה אמר בתחומי בית המקדש ניבנה וזה אמר בתחומי ויהי בהיותם בשדה, אין שדה אלא בית המקדש היך מה דאת אמר ציון שדה תחרש (מיכה ג יב)

[2]Regarding the love to the neighbor and Rabi Akiva’s opinion, see: Sifra, Kedoshim. Parashah 2; Bereshit Raba, Parashat Bereshit, Parasha 24, Siman 7. The centrality of Keriat Sh’m’a in Judaism is needless of special references.

[3]Mark 12:30-31; Matthew 22:3

[4]Deuteronomy 6:4

[5]Deuteronomy 19:18

[6] Numbers 6:22-26

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