Thursday of the Thirtieth week in Ordinary Time
How often have I wanted to gather your children together
Saint John-Paul II, Pope from 1978 to 2005
Apostolic Letter “Redemptionis anno”, April 1984
“Jerusalem… How often have I wanted to gather your children together”
In addition to its renowned and magnificent monuments, Jerusalem has living communities of believing Christians, Jews and Muslims, whose presence is a pledge and a source of hope for the nations, which in all parts of the world look towards the Holy City as towards a spiritual patrimony and a sign of peace and of concord. Yes, as the homeland of the heart of all the spiritual descendants of Abraham who have a deep love for it, and as a place where, for the eyes of faith, God’s infinite transcendence and created things meet, Jerusalem is a symbol of gathering, of union and of peace for the whole human family. The Holy City thus includes a firm call for peace to all of humankind and in particular to all who adore the one great God, the merciful Father of all peoples. Alas! We have to admit that Jerusalem continues to be a reason for rivalry, violence and territorial claims.
This situation and these thoughts bring to our lips the words of the prophet: “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet. Until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch.” (Isa 62:1) We think of the day, and we await it with impatience, when we shall all truly be “taught by God” (Jn 6:45), so that we might hear his message of reconciliation and peace. We think of the day when Jews, Christians, and Muslims will be able to share with one another in Jerusalem the greeting of peace, which Jesus addressed to his disciples after his resurrection: “Peace be with you.” (Jn 20:19)