VATICAN CITY, JAN 14, 2004 (VIS) - In today's general audience, celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope resumed his catechesis on the liturgy of Vespers. Today's theme was the canticle of the first letter of St. Peter which "focuses on Christ's glorious passion, as foreseen at His baptism in the Jordan."
Jesus, said the Pope, is revealed as "the 'chosen Son' in Whom God is well-pleased and the true 'Servant of Yahweh' Who frees men from sin through His passion and death on the cross."
John Paul II indicated that Christ "is a model for us which we must contemplate and imitate, the 'program' ... which we must carry out, the example we must follow without hesitation, while conforming ourselves to His will. The petrine hymn is a wonderful synthesis of Christ's passion, following the words and images of Isaiah on the figure of the suffering servant, the key to understanding the ancient Christian concept of the Messiah."
"The Lord's patient silence," he continued, "is not only an act of courage and generosity. It is also a gesture of faith in Peter. ... He has complete and perfect confidence in divine justice which guides history toward the triumph of the innocent."
The Pope affirmed that "at the height of the narration of the Passion the saving value of the supreme act of Christ's donation is emphasized: 'He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness'."
"Through this path," he concluded, "freed from the former man, with his evil and misery, we too can live for justice which is in essence holiness."
AG/CANTICLE ST PETER/... VIS 20040114 (290)