Biblical Religion a Leaven of Justice, Says Pope

Comments on Psalm 121(122)

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 12, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that the Bible’s religion is not something private, but rather is “the leaven of justice and solidarity” in the world.

In today’s general audience, which gathered some 60,000 people to St. Peter’s Square, the Pope commented on Psalm 121(122), which opens with the words: “I rejoiced when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.'”

The psalm sketches a picture of Jerusalem the “Holy City,” which had both a religious as well as a social function, said the Bishop of Rome.

Thus, he underlined, it shows that “the biblical religion is not abstract or private, but is the leaven of justice and solidarity.”

“Communion with God is followed necessarily by communion of brothers among themselves,” Benedict XVI noted.

The poetic description of the Holy City concludes with the hope of peace, “shalom,” which “alludes to the messianic peace, which comprises in itself joy, prosperity, good, abundance,” continued the Pontiff.

To peace, the last phrase of the psalm adds the hope of “good.”

“Thus we have, in an anticipated way, the Franciscan greeting: ‘Peace and good!'” the Holy Father said.

“It is the hope of blessing on the faithful who love the Holy City, on their physical reality of walls and palaces in which the life of a people pulsates, on all brothers and friends,” he explained.

St. Gregory’s view

Benedict XVI’s reflection ended with a reference to a homily of St. Gregory the Great (540-604), who saw in ancient Jerusalem a sign of the Church.

“In a building, one stone sustains another, because one stone is placed on another, and the one that sustains another is in turn sustained by yet another. So, precisely in this way, in the Holy Church each one sustains and is sustained,” stated the Pope, quoting the Doctor of the Church.

He continued the quote: “If I, in fact, do not make an effort to accept you as you are, and you do not make an effort to accept me as I am, the building of charity cannot rise between us, who are also bound by mutual and patient love.”

With this meditation, Benedict XVI continued with the series of commentaries on the canticles and psalms which form part of the Liturgy of the Hours. Other commentaries are posted in the Wednesday’s Audience section of ZENIT’s Web page.

At the end of the audience, the Pope greeted pilgrims in 13 languages. Speaking in Polish, he said that today’s liturgy is a memorial celebrated for Blessed Jan Beyzym, a missionary in Madagascar, “who for love of Christ dedicated his life to lepers.”

“Through his intercession,” the Pope said, “let us pray to God for new missionary vocations.”

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