As part of his comments of the Psalms and Canticles for Vespers in the Liturgy of the Hours, Pope John Paul explained Psalm 140, “Prayer in times of danger” during the general audience celebrated in St. Peter’s Square.
Speaking to some 18,000 pilgrims, the Pontiff said that Psalm 140 “reflects the spirit of prophetic theology that intimately unites worship and life, prayer and existence. The same prayer made with a pure and sincere heart becomes a sacrifice offered to God.”
He then explained that the psalm takes on a tone of petition to the Lord “so that He does not allow our lips and sentiments to be infected by evil and so that ‘evil actions’ are not carried out”.
“Words and actions,” he continued, “are in fact the expression of a person’s moral choices. Evil often is attractive enough to push even the faithful to taste the ‘delicious foods’ that sinners can offer, joining them at their table, that is participating in their perverse actions.”
“The psalm almost acquires the tone of an examination of conscience which is followed by the commitment to always choose the ways of the Lord,” he
The Pope explained also that “in order to express with great vehemence his radical disassociation from the evil one, the psalmist proclaims his indignant condemnation against him, which is expressed with colorful recourse to images of fiery judgment.”
John Paul II concluded by noting that the psalm ends with “a final faithful invocation: it is a hymn of faith, gratitude and joy, in the certainty that the faithful will not be contaminated by the hate that the perverse reserve for themselves and that they will not fall into the trap set for them, after having noted their decisive choice for doing good.”