.- Some 13,000 pilgrims turned out for Pope Benedict XVI’s Wednesday audience today in which he chided temptations to overemphasize power, prestige, and what he called the “comfortable life.”
In the audience, he resumed his catechesis on the Psalms and Canticles, which was begun by the late John Paul II.
The Pope spoke about Psalm 120, "the keeper of Israel," explaining that it forms part of the "'songs of ascent,” or the “pilgrimage towards the meeting with the Lord in the Temple of Zion."
He pointed out that the name of God is used as "the keeper, ever alert, watchful and considerate, the 'sentinel' who keeps watch over his people to protect them from all risks and dangers."
Here, Pope Benedict, speaking off-the-cuff challenged those gathered, saying that, power, prestige and the comfortable life are sometimes considered "the high points of our lives." In reality, he said, they are not so "because true life comes from the Lord."
The Holy Father continued, pointing to the psalmist, who "raises his 'eyes to the hills,' in other words to the heights where Jerusalem stands. From there comes help, because there the Lord dwells in His holy temple."
He noted that the Psalm, which emphasizes trust, illustrates "through the image of the custodian and of the sentinel who watch over and protect. ... Another symbol, that of the 'shade'," evokes "the pillar of cloud" that guided the people of Israel in the Sinai Desert "to lead them along the way."
"After the vigil and the shade," Pope Benedict said, "comes the third symbol, that of the Lord who is 'on the right hand' of His follower.”
He told the crowd that, “This is the certainty of not being abandoned in moments of trial, of the assault of evil, of persecution."
Psalm 120, the Pope said, closes "with a concise declaration of trust: God will protect us with love at all times, protecting our lives from all evil. All our activities - as summed up in the two contrasting verbs of 'going out' and 'coming in' - are always under the Lord's attentive gaze; as are all our acts and all our time 'from this time forth and for evermore'."