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In meeting with Muslims, Pope speaks about Abraham, laments violence in God’s name

Catholic World News - May 26, 2014

In an address to Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem since 2006, and other Muslims gathered Jerusalem, Pope Francis reflected on the figure of Abraham and implored, “May no one abuse the name of God through violence!”

The meeting took place in the building of the Great Council on the Esplanade of the Mosques at the beginning of the final day of the Pontiff’s three-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

“Following in the footsteps of my predecessors, and in particular the historic visit of Pope Paul VI fifty years ago, the first visit of a Pope to the Holy Land, I have greatly desired to come as a pilgrim to the places which witnessed the earthly presence of Jesus Christ,” Pope Francis said. “But my pilgrimage would not be complete if it did not also include a meeting with the people and the communities who live in this land.”

“At this moment I think of Abraham, who lived as a pilgrim in these lands,” the Pope continued. “Muslims, Christians and Jews see in him, albeit in different ways, a father in faith and a great example to be imitated. He became a pilgrim, leaving his own people and his own house in order to embark on that spiritual adventure to which God called him.”

The pilgrim, Pope Francis continued, is

person who makes himself poor and sets forth on a journey. Pilgrims set out intently toward a great and longed-for destination, and they live in the hope of a promise received (cf. Heb 11:8-19). This was how Abraham lived, and this should be our spiritual attitude. We can never think ourselves self-sufficient, masters of our own lives. We cannot be content with remaining withdrawn, secure in our convictions. Before the mystery of God we are all poor. We realize that we must constantly be prepared to go out from ourselves, docile to God’s call and open to the future that he wishes to create for us.

The pilgrimage of Abraham “was also a summons to righteousness: God wanted him to witness his way of acting and to imitate him,” the Pope added. “We too wish to witness to God’s working in the world, and so, precisely in this meeting, we hear deep within us his summons to work for peace and justice, to implore these gifts in prayer and to learn from on high mercy, magnanimity and compassion.”

Pope Francis concluded:

Dear brothers, dear friends, from this holy place I make a heartfelt plea to all people and to all communities who look to Abraham: may we respect and love one another as brothers and sisters! May we learn to understand the sufferings of others! May no one abuse the name of God through violence! May we work together for justice and peace!

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