In his weekly audience given earlier today at the Vatican, Pope Benedict reminded some 8,000 listeners that the victory of Christ was not political or warlike, but rather an “intervention of freedom against evil.”
The Holy Father continued his ongoing catechesis on the Psalms today, this time speaking about the first part of Psalm 143, which he called "The king's prayer for victory and peace."
Calling on his audience to bear in mind the historical context in which the Psalm was written, Pope Benedict said that it was clear "that the king who appears no longer has the profile of a Davidic sovereign.”
Noting that “the Hebrew royal line had ended with the Babylonian exile of the sixth century BC…he represents the luminous and glorious figure of the Messiah, whose victory is no longer warlike and political but an intervention of freedom against evil."
The Pope said that while the hymn begins with a string of praises exalting the greatness of the Lord, before His omnipotence "the psalmist, despite his regal dignity, feels weak and fragile.”
“He makes a profession of humility,” Benedict pointed out, “describing himself as a 'passing shadow' ... immersed in the flow of fleeting time and marked by the limits of his status as a created being."
The major question, the Holy Father said, is, "why does God concern Himself and think of such a poor and lowly creature?”
The answer comes by “the great bursting forth of the divinity; this so-called theophany is accompanied by a series of cosmic elements and historical events that all tend to celebrate the transcendence of the supreme King of life, the universe and history."
Benedict cited the early Christian writer Origen who, in a commentary on this psalm, wrote that, "Lord, you cannot save the misery that is man if You do not take that misery upon Yourself. ... You came down, you lowered the heavens and stretched out Your hand from on high, you deigned to take upon Yourself the flesh of man, and many believed in You."
The Holy Father ended his address with a note of hope, saying: "The psalm, which began with our discovery of being weak and far from divine splendor, reaches a surprising conclusion: near us is the God-Emmanuel, Who for Christians has the loving face of Jesus Christ, God-made-man."