.- Pope John Paul II received a Christmas tree from the Archbishop and faithful of the autonomous Italian province of Trento this morning during his weekly General Audience in which he said that the long-awaited for Messiah is the righteous King who is the source of hope for the poor and oppressed. The Christmas tree, he said, "is a gift of your autonomous province. Thank you! Thank you especially to those who made possible this Christmas gift which will remind visitors and pilgrims of the birth of Christ, light of the world." The tree will be placed in St. Peter’s Square.
John Paul II said that in the second part of Psalm 71, "Reign of a Righteous King,” “the decisive element which identifies the figure of the Messianic King is above all his justice and love for the poor who consider him a point of reference and a source of hope since he is the visible representative of their only defender and patron, God."
"The Lord," he continued, "is the 'savior-redeemer' Who works visibly through the Messiah-king, safeguarding 'the life and blood' of the poor, His protected ones.”
The Pope said that “'life' and 'blood' are the basic reality of the person and the representation of the rights and dignity of every human being, rights that are often violated by those in power in this world."
The Pope indicated that "humanity, putting aside and eliminating all divisions, will set out toward this sovereign of justice, fulfilling in this way the great promise made by the Lord to Abraham: 'And in him, shall every tribe of the earth be blessed'."
"The Christian tradition," he concluded, "has seen in this image of the Messiah and King a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Virgin Mary, the long-awaited Savior."