During today’s general audience held at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI told a crowd of 8,000 that contrary to earthly kingdoms established by man, the Kingdom of God is one based on mercy, not false power, dominion and oppression for the weak.
The Pope continued his ongoing catechesis on the Psalms, this week discussing Psalm 144, which he called, "praise of divine majesty."
He began by calling the Psalm "an intense and impassioned celebration of divine regality. ... It is an expression of God's plan of salvation.”
God, the Holy Father went on, “is not indifferent to human history, rather He desires to bring it into conformity with His design of harmony and peace.”
“All humanity”, he said, “is called to put this plan into effect, that it might adhere to the divine salvific will, a will that extends to 'all men,' to 'all generations' and to 'all time.'“
He called this “A universal action that takes evil from the world and places there the 'glory' of the Lord, in other words, His effective and transcendent personal presence."
Moving on, Pope Benedict explained that in the psalm, "the Lord is exalted as a loving and tender sovereign, concerned for all His creatures. ... We are not at the mercy of dark forces, nor are we alone with our freedom; rather we are entrusted to the action of the powerful and loving Lord Who has a plan for us, a 'kingdom' to establish.”
“This 'kingdom'“, he said, “is not founded on power and domination, on triumph and oppression as is often the case of earthly kingdoms." It is a place of "piety, tenderness, goodness, grace and justice." As the psalm says, the Lord is "gracious and merciful, slow to anger."
Here, the Pope cited St. Peter Chrysologus, who said that "even greater than the Lord's works is the Lord's mercy."
Not coincidentally, following today’s audience, Benedict addressed a special greeting to heads of the Italian Prison Administration, telling them that "Your presence gives me an opportunity to remind individuals and the whole of society of respect for civil and ethical norms, which lie at the foundation of human coexistence."