VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI invited his listeners at the general audience to discover the love of God revealed in his works throughout history.
Addressing 22,000 people gathered today in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope developed the commentary he began last week on Psalm 135(136), a “Paschal hymn” of the Jewish people, which reviews God’s action through the history of salvation. It is one of the biblical works that comprise the Liturgy of Vespers, the Church’s evening prayer.
“We run the danger that the memory of evil, of the evils suffered, is often stronger than the memory of the good,” warned the Holy Father.
This passage Psalm 135(136):10-26 “helps to awaken in us the memory of the good, of all the good the Lord has done to us and does to us, and that we can see if our heart is attentive,” the Pope said. “It is true, God’s mercy is eternal, it is present day after day.”
The first part of the psalm, which he commented on Nov. 9, speaks of creation as reflection of the beauty of God. The second part, Benedict XVI said today, “speaks of history and of the good God has done to us in the course of time.”
The Jewish poetic composition attests to the love of God, the Pope said.
The psalm, he noted, recalls “the liberating actions of the Lord, which have their heart in the fundamental event of the exodus from Egypt, to which is profoundly connected the difficult journey in the Sinai desert, which ends in the promised land, the divine gift that Israel experiences in all the pages of the Bible.”
“Desert and sea represent, then, the passage through evil and oppression to receive the gift of freedom and the promised land,” stated the Holy Father.
As the psalm shows, in “the time of ‘humiliation,’ that is, of the successive trials and oppressions, Israel will always discover the saving hand of the God of liberty and love,” he continued. “In the time of hunger and misery the Lord will also appear to offer food to the whole of humanity, confirming his identity as Creator.”
God reveals himself with two modalities: “the cosmic and the historical,” the Pope said.
“The Lord is, of course, transcendent as Creator and arbiter of being; but he is also close to his creatures, entering into space and time,” the Holy Father said. “He does not stay far away, in the distant heaven. On the contrary, his presence among us reaches the summit in the Incarnation of Christ.”
Quoting St. Cyprian, a third-century martyr, Benedict XVI added that the Son of God “was wounded to heal our wounds, he became a slave to lead us, who were slaves, to freedom. He accepted death to be able to offer immortality to mortals.”
Other papal commentaries on the Psalms and canticles of the Bible are posted in the Wednesday’s Audience section of ZENIT’s Web page.