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Wednesday, December 15, 2004


VATICAN CITY, DEC 15, 2004 (VIS) - In today's general audience, celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father spoke about the second part of Psalm 71, "Reign of a Righteous King."

  John Paul II said that "the decisive element which identifies the figure of the Messianic King is above all his justice and love for the poor who consider him a point of reference and a source of hope since he is the visible representative of their only defender and patron, God."

  "The Lord," he continued, "is the 'savior-redeemer' Who works visibly through the Messiah-king, safeguarding 'the life and blood' of the poor, His protected ones. Now 'life' and 'blood' are the basic reality of the person and the representation of the rights and dignity of every human being, rights that are often violated by those in power in this world."

  The Pope indicated that "humanity, putting aside and eliminating all divisions, will set out toward this sovereign of justice, fulfilling in this way the great promise made by the Lord to Abraham: 'And in him, shall every tribe of the earth be blessed'."

  "The Christian tradition," he concluded, "has seen in this image of the Messiah and King a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Virgin Mary, the long-awaited Savior."

  Among the faithful present, the Holy Father greeted a group of people from the autonomous Italian province of Trento, accompanied by Archbishop Luigi Bressan and civil authorities who have come to Rome to present him the Christmas tree placed in St. Peter's Square. They also gave the Pope other trees which have been placed in the Paul VI Hall, in the Apostolic Palace and in other places around the Vatican.

  "It is a gift," he said, "of your autonomous province. Thank you! Thank you especially to those who made possible this Christmas gift which will remind visitors and pilgrims of the birth of Christ, light of the world."

  Before the audience, John Paul II greeted 3,000 Italian young people and students in St. Peter's Basilica. "During Advent, a prayerful time of waiting which prepares us for Christmas," he said, "Mary, the Virgin of Hope, is especially present. I entrust you to her so that you prepare yourselves to receive Christ who comes to establish His kingdom of love, justice and peace."
AG/PSALM 71/...                                VIS 20041215 (400)

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