.- As Pope Benedict continued his weekly catechesis on the Psalms earlier today, he told a crowd of nearly 50,000 that, it is in the liturgy, where the faithful take part in the divine Word of God, that and man and his creator "meet in an embrace of salvation." He also strongly denounced modern forms of idolatry, namely, the hunger for power and wealth. The Holy Father focused his audience on the second part of Psalm 134 and the theme: "only God is great and eternal."
He first demonstrated how "the Psalmist resolutely compares two different religious visions. On one side rises the figure of the living and personal God, ... a living being who 'guides' His people, ... supporting them with the power of His love; on the other is idolatry, the expression of a deviant and deceptive religiosity. Indeed, idols are nothing more than 'the work of men's hands.' ... They have human form, .... but they are inert."
"The destiny of those who adore these dead things," the Pope said, "is to become like them: impotent, fragile and inert. These verses clearly convey man's eternal temptation to seek salvation in the 'work of his hands,' placing hope in wealth, power and success."
"Following this meditation on true and false religion," the Pope showed that the Psalm concludes with a liturgical blessing.
"The liturgy", he said, "is the privileged place to listen to the divine Word that revives the Lord's salvific acts, but it is also the space from which community prayer rises to celebrate divine love. God and man meet in an embrace of salvation, that finds fulfillment in the liturgical celebration."
At the end of today's audience, the Holy Father greeted the throngs of pilgrims in various languages.
Specifically addressing a group of faithful from the Italian region of Umbria, he said: "You come from the land of St. Benedict and St. Francis, they also made this pilgrimage (to Rome). ... After many centuries, their testimony of love and peace is still relevant: Italy, Europe and the world have need of them."
October 4th was the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.
He also addressed a group of Polish pilgrims who were present, saying: "Six months have passed since the death of my dear predecessor John Paul II. His Magisterium and the testimony of his life remain important to us. I entrust the cause of his beatification to your recitation of the Rosary."