Dialogika

Lent / Easter

Easter Prayer for Jewish-Christian Amity


The following prayer was composed for the Easter Vigil Service in the Roman Catholic rite. Therefore, the accompanying notes cite Catholic texts. The Easter Vigil, with its numerous readings from the story of biblical Israel, is a fitting occasion to recall the spiritual legacy of Christians and their contemporary relationship with people and traditions of Israel (cf. Nostra Aetate, 4). The prayer can serve as the basis for similar prayers in other Christian communities and is readily adaptable for use throughout the Easter season.



Recalling our spiritual roots in biblical Israel,[1]

and remembering that Jesus was an authentic son of Israel,[2] 

We pray tonight in a special way for the Jewish people,

our elder brothers and sisters[3] in covenant with God:[4]

May our peoples be a blessing for each other and for the whole world;[5]

Let us pray to the Lord.

 

 



[1]Nostra Aetate, 4: "... the church cannot forget that it received the revelation of the Old Testament by way of that people with whom God in his inexpressible mercy established the ancient covenant."

[2]John Paul II (To the Pontifical Biblical Commission, April 11, 1997): "By taking part in the synagogue celebrations where the Old Testament texts were read and commented on, Jesus also came humanly to know these texts; he nourished his mind and heart with them, using them in prayer and as an inspiration for his actions. Thus he became an authentic son of Israel, deeply rooted in his own people's long history."

[3]John Paul II (Great Synagogue in Rome, April 13, 1986): "The Jewish religion is not ‘extrinsic' to us, but in a certain way is ‘intrinsic' to our own religion. With Judaism therefore we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers and, in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers."

[4]John Paul II (Address to the Mainz Jewish community, November 17, 1980): "The first dimension of this dialogue, that is, the meeting between the people of God of the Old Covenant, never revoked by God [cf. Rom. 11:29], and that of the New Covenant, is at the same time a dialogue within our Church, that is to say, between the first and the second part of her Bible.

[5]John Paul II (On the 50th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, April 6, 1993: "As Christians and Jews, following the example of the faith of Abraham, we are called to be a blessing for the world [cf. Gen. 12:2ff]. This is the common task awaiting us. It is therefore necessary for us, Christians and Jews, to be first a blessing to one another."