Rabbi Leon Klenicki wrapped up an interfaith-dialogue meeting I attended by saying, “We all believe that the Messiah is coming. Whether it’s the first coming or the second coming we can sort out after he arrives.”
The remark got a good-natured chuckle from the Jewish and Christian people in the room.
Of course, Rabbi Klenicki, a leader in interfaith dialogue, knew that differences between the two religions were more complex than his comment expressed, but still, his message was important.
His point was that in order for Jews and Christians—or any two or more communities—to coexist in peace there must first be good will. Another way to say that is that in order for any two or more communities to coexist in peace there must first be love.
Amid the information flying past me on the internet recently, I noticed a post by the magazine Commonweal with this statement attributed to Dorothy Day: “We must love to the point of folly.” That is not a soft-soap message from a Hallmark card. That is the unvarnished reality that governs our successes or failures as civilized people, and, for us, as disciples of Jesus.