01/18/2004, 00.00
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Concert for the reconciliation of Jews, Christians, Muslims

Vatican City (AsiaNews) The musical notes of Mahler and Harbinson are dedicated to renew "the pressing need for a sincere reconciliation between believers in one God," without hiding the "painful times", "the bright and dark moments" in the history between Christians, Jews and Muslims. This was meaning behind the "Concert of Reconciliation" held before John Paul II yesterday afternoon at the Paul VI Hall.

Attending the event were foreign and Italian Jewish figures, like Rabbi Elio Toaff and head Rabbi of Israel, Jona Metzgher. The music event concluded a day of Jewish-Christian dialog held in Rome. Also at the show were Muslim figures like former Italian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Hon. Mario Scialoia, and the Imam of the Rome's mosque, Abdulawahab Hussein.

The concert was performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and by choirs from Ankara, Krakow, London and Pittsburg. The concert was conducted by maestro Gilbert Levine. 

After having greeted those in attendance, the event's organizers and its sponsors (the Knights of Columbus), John Paul II said:

 "The choice of (musical) pieces for this evening brings to mind two important points which, in a certain way, unite the Jewish, Islamic and Christian faiths, even if their respective sacred texts treat them differently. The two points are: veneration for Abraham the Patriarch and the resurrection of the dead. We have listened to the masterful remark in John Harbison's sacred motet "Abraham" and in Gustav Malher's No. 2 symphony, inspired by the dramatic poem "Dziady" of the illustrious Polish playwright, Adam Mickiewicz.     

The history of Jewish, Christian and Muslim relations is marked by light and darkness and, unfortunately, has had its sorrowful moments. Today, the pressing need is felt for a sincere reconciliation between believers in one God.

This evening we are gathered together to give concrete expression to our commitment to reconciliation, placing our trust in the universal message of music. The words (from Genesis) served as a warning to us: "I am the omnipotent God: walk before me and be upright (Gen 17, 1)." Every human being hears these words echoing inside him, as he knows that one day he will have to answer to God, who from on high, observes his actions on earth.

The hope we express together is that men will be cleansed of hatred and of the evil which continuously threatens peace and that they know how to keep their hands reciprocally free of violence and ready to offer help and comfort to those in need.

Jews honor the Almighty as the protector of human life  and God of the promises of life. Christians know that love is the reason why God entered into a relationship with man and that love is the response he expects from man. For Muslims God is good and knows how to fill believers with his mercifulness. Nourished by these convictions, Jews, Christians and Muslims cannot accept that the earth be afflicted by hatred, that humanity end up wearied by endless wars. 

Yes we must find within ourselves the courage for peace! We must beg for the gift of peace from on High. And this peace will spread like healing oils, as we travel along the road to reconciliation without stopping. Then the desert will become a garden where justice will reign, and the effect of justice will be peace. (cf. Is 32, 15-16). Omnia vincit amor!"

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