Speaking on Psalm 71 in today's general audience in the Paul VI Hall, Pope John Paul II explained that because “the Lord is the guardian and defender of the poor and oppressed,” according to the Bible, violating the rights of the poor is “an act against God.”
The Pope said that the psalm opens with an "intense choral appeal to God to grant the sovereign the basic gift to govern and administer justice, especially with the poor who are often the victims of power."
"If the rights of the poor are violated, not only does a politically incorrect and morally evil act occur,” he said. “According to the Bible, an act against God is perpetrated, a religious offense, because the Lord is the guardian and defender of the poor and oppressed, widows and orphans, those who have no one to protect them on earth."
The Holy Father said that "it is easy to understand how tradition has substituted the often disappointing king ... with the luminous and glorious physiognomy of the Messiah...who will judge the poor justly and who will make fair decisions in favor of the poor of the land."
"After this lively and passionate plea for the gift of justice," he continued, "the psalm looks beyond and contemplates how the Messianic kingdom is spread on two coordinates, those of time and space. ... A rich and serene kingdom based on the basic values of justice and peace.”
“These are the signs of the entrance of the Messiah in our history," he concluded.