In this morning’s weekly general audience in the presence of 13,000 faithful at St. Peter’s Square, the Pope reflected on Psalm 40, which teaches us to overcome superficiality, vanity and sin, and trust in God’s saving mercy.
John Paul II opened his reflection on Psalm 40, "The prayer of a sick man," by pointing out that Jesus quotes this Psalm on Holy Thursday in the Cenacle to show his deep sadness at the moment of betrayal by Judas: "He who breaks bread with me has raised his heel against me."
These words, he said, express "the supplication of a man who is sick and abandoned by his friends."
"A sick man starts his talk asking pardon of God, according to the traditional Old Testament concept that for every pain there was a corresponding fault. ... Even if this is a vision overcome by Christ, the final Revealer, suffering in itself can conceal a secret value and become a path to purification, to inner freedom, to enrichment of the soul,” said the Pope.
“It invites us,” he continued, “to overcome superficiality, vanity, egoism and sin, and to trust God and His saving will more intensely."
The Holy Father remarked that "when evil-doers enter the scene, coming to a sick person not to comfort them but rather to attack them," the sick man who prays feels indifference and hardness, even on the part of his friends who are transformed into hostile and hateful figures."
"The sense of bitterness is deep when the one who strikes us is 'a friend' whom we trusted, called literally in Hebrew 'a man of peace',” he said.
“In our prayer echoes the voice of a crowd of persons who are forgotten and humiliated in their infirmity and weakness, also by those who should have supported them."
In conclusion, the Pope said that "the prayer of Psalm 40 does not end, however, on this dark background. The one who prays is certain that God will appear on his horizon, revealing, once again, His love. He will give His support and take the sick person in His arms. ... The Psalm, marked by pain, ends on a note of light and hope."