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Wednesday, March 17, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAR 17, 2004 (VIS) - Psalm 20, "Thanksgiving for the victory of the Messiah-King," was the theme of the Pope's catechesis during the general audience celebrated this morning in St. Peter's Square.

The Pope said that this psalm, "one of the royal psalms," expresses the gratitude of the people for "what God has done in favor of the Hebrew sovereign on the solemn day of his enthronement."

God, he continued, showers blessing on the king who is "a reflection of the light of God in the midst of humanity. ... The prophet Nathan also assured David of this blessing which is a source of stability, sustenance and safety."

"When we recite this psalm, we see the face of Christ, the Messiah King in the figure of the Hebrew king . ... He is the Son of God in the fullest sense and is therefore the presence of God in the midst of humanity. He is the light and the life. ... In this way, the psalmist announces His resurrection from the dead and that He, risen from the dead, is immortal. ... Based on this certainty," he concluded, "Christians cultivate hope in the gift of eternal life."

While greeting pilgrims in Polish, John Paul II recalled that Friday is the solemnity of St. Joseph, spouse of Our Lady. "This solemnity," he affirmed, "urges families of today, comforted by the example of Mary and Joseph, who lovingly cared for the Word Incarnate, to be inspired by their lifestyle when making daily decisions and to gather strength to overcome difficulties. Only in an authentic family, one that is united and loving, can children mature in a healthy way, following the example of unconditional love, fidelity, reciprocal self-giving and respect for life. I ask Polish families to strive to be this way. May God bless you all."

The Holy Father also addressed a group of pilgrims from the Italian archdiocese of Spoleto-Norcia, accompanied by a delegation that just returned from the Holy Land where they lit the Benedictine torch of peace a few days ago in Nazareth and, after the stop in Rome, will proceed to Norcia. "I am pleased," he said, "by your renewed commitment to harmony among peoples. I hope that your region, land of St. Francis and St. Benedict, may be ever more conscious of the spiritual values that forged the thought, art and culture of Italy and Europe."
AG/PSALM 20/... VIS 20040317 (410)

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