To Violate Rights of Poor Is Act Against God, Warns Pope

Comments on Psalm 71(72) at General Audience

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 1, 2004 ( John Paul II says that to violate the rights of the poor and defenseless is an act of injustice against God himself.

The Pope addressed the argument during today’s general audience, which he dedicated to comment on Psalm 71(72):1-11. The Psalm opens: «O God, give your judgment to the king; your justice to the son of kings; / That he may govern your people with justice!»

«If the rights of the poor are violated,» the Holy Father said, «an act is carried out which is not only politically incorrect and morally unjust.»

«According to the Bible, an act against God is also perpetrated, a religious offense, as the Lord is the guardian and defender of the poor and the oppressed, of widows and of orphans, namely, of those who do not have human protectors,» he explained.

Although these words are applied to those who have power, the Psalm, according to its interpretation by the early Christians, also makes reference to Christ, king and Messiah, the Pope said.

Thus, he said, can be understood in the Christian realm, prophecies such as that of Jeremiah 23:5: «Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; / As king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.»

In the light of this Psalm, the Kingdom of Christ is a Kingdom without limits of space and time, exactly as expressed with the geographic and temporal coordinates proper to biblical times, John Paul II indicated.

At the end of the audience, the Pope invited those present to «contemplate Jesus, the Son of God, who in this time of Advent we await as Savior. May he support us in every moment of our life!»

The Holy Father’s meditation was the latest on a series on the Psalms and canticles of vespers, the evening prayer of the Church. Other meditations are posted at the Wednesday’s Audience section of ZENIT’s Web page.

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