excerpt of Ratzinger's interreligious Dialogue - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Sharon Jean
    • 21.04.05 | 08:47 (IDT)

    Middle of Essay - "Interreligious Dialogue and Jewish-Christian Relations" (a.k.a. the new guy with the tall hat) "5. Judaism and Christianity "...The average observer would probably regard the following statement as obvious: the Hebrew Bible, the "Old Testament," unites Jews and Christians, whereas faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Redeemer divides them. It is not difficult to see, however, that this kind of division between what unites and what divides is superficial. For the primal fact is that through Christ Israel's Bible came to the non-Jews and became their Bible. It is no empty theological rhetoric when the Letter to the Ephesians says that Christ has breached the wall between the Jews and the other religions of the world and made them one. Rather, it is an empirical datum, even though the empirical does not capture all that is contained in the theological statement. For through the encounter with Jesus of Nazareth the God of Israel became the God of the Gentiles. Through him, in fact, the promise that the nations would pray to the God of Israel as the one God, that the "mountain of the Lord" would be exalted above all other mountains, has been fulfilled. Even if Israel cannot join Christians in seeing Jesus as the Son of God, it is not altogether impossible for Israel to recognize him as the servant of God who brings the light of his God to the nations. The converse is also true: even if Christians wish that Israel might one day recognize Christ as the Son of God and that the fissure that still divides them might thereby be closed, they ought to acknowledge the decree of God, who has obviously entrusted Israel with a distinctive mission in the "time of the Gentiles." The Fathers define this mission in the following way: the Jews must remain as the first proprietors of Holy Scripture with respect to us, in order to establish a testimony to the world. But what is the tenor of this testimony? This brings us to the second line of reflection that I would like to propose. I think we could say that two things are essential to Israel's faith. The first is the Torah, commitment to God's will, and thus the establishment of his dominion, his kingdom, in this world. The second is the prospect of hope, the expectation of the Messiah--the expectation, indeed, the certainty, that God himself will enter into this history and create justice, which we can only approximate very imperfectly. The three dimensions of time are thus connected: obedience to God's will bears on an already spoken word that now exists in history and at each new moment has to be made present again in obedience. This obedience, which makes present a bit of God's justice in time, is oriented toward a future when God will gather up the fragments of time and usher them as a whole into his justice...."- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

    from the article: New pope seen continuing relations with Israel, Jews
    First published 00:00 20.04.05 | Last updated 00:00 20.04.05
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