.- This morning, Pope Benedict XVI, continuing his series of Wednesday catechesis on the Psalms, offered the 27,000 gathered pilgrims a message of hope, assuring them that God will not abandon his people to the terrors of pain and death. The Holy Father focused his talk on Psalm 115, "Thanksgiving in the Temple," pointing out that St. Paul refers to this psalm when he tells the Corinthians: "Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote 'I believed and so I spoke,' we too believe, and so we speak."
Pope Benedict illustrated the spiritual harmony between Paul and the Psalmist "in serene faith, and sincere witness, despite human suffering and weakness."
Together with Psalm 114, he said, this Psalm constitutes "a single act of thanksgiving, addressed to the Lord, Who frees us from the terror of death."
He added that the writer describes "a tormented past.â
âThe Psalmist has held high the torch of faith, even when the bitterness of desperation and sorrow rise to his lips. Around him was an icy wall of hatred and deceit, because men appeared false and unfaithful. However, the supplication becomes gratitude because the Lord has raised His faithful servant from the dark abyss of falsehood."
Briefly straying from his prepared text, the Holy Father told the crowd that, "Christ was the first martyr, and gave His own life in a context of hatred and falsehood; yet He transformed His passion into 'Eucharist' that is 'joy and salvation'."
Returning to his catechesis, Pope Benedict said that, "The Psalmist prepares, then, to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, in which he will drink at the ritual chalice, the cup of sacred libation that is a sign of recognition for having been set free."
He likewise showed that the Psalmist bears witness of his own faith in the presence of all the people and that, "having been saved from death, feels himself to be the Lord's 'servant,' and 'son of His handmaiden;' a beautiful Oriental expression indicating a person born in the same house as his master.â
âThe Psalmistâ, he said, âhumbly and joyfully professes his association with the House of God, with the family of created beings united to him in love and faithfulness."
He concluded, saying: "The entire people of God thank the Lord of life, Who never abandons the just in the dark bosom of pain and death, but leads them to hope and to life."
Closing the weekly audience Pope Benedict invited all present to participate in the Mass for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, which he will celebrate at 7 p.m. tomorrow evening, in St. John Lateran Basilica.
A traditional procession to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, will also be celebrated tomorrow, in order "to express together faith in Christ, Who is present in the Eucharist."