Biblical religion is not abstract, says Pope, 'Communion with God must be followed by communion with others'

Biblical religion is not abstract, says Pope, 'Communion with God must be followed by communion with others'


During his general audience this afternoon at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI continued his weekly catechesis on the Psalms saying that the holy city of Jerusalem symbolized for ancient Israel, the ideas of security, stability, and God's presence among the people. For Christians today, he said, the Holy City of the Church is supported fully on the foundation of our Redeemer--Jesus Christ.

Speaking to some 50,000 listeners, the Pope spoke on Psalm 121, which tells of "the joy of reaching Jerusalem, the holy city upon which we wish peace."

He called Jerusalem, "a city 'bound firmly together,' symbol of security and stability, is the heart of the unity of the twelve tribes of Israel which converge upon the city as the center of their faith and their worship."

But Jerusalem, he said, "contains another important element, which is also a sign of God's presence in Israel: the 'thrones for judgment' of the house of David: the dynasty of David is reigning, an expression of divine action in history."

"Thus Jerusalem, the political capital," the Pope continued, "was also the highest judicial center where controversies were ultimately resolved. And so, leaving Sion, Jewish pilgrims returned to their villages pacified and with a greater sense of justice."

Psalm 121 goes on then to define the city, Benedict pointed out, in terms of its "religious and social function, showing that biblical religion is neither abstract nor intimate but is a ferment of justice and solidarity. Communion with God is necessarily followed by communion between brothers."

He also noted that the psalm ends with an invocation using the Jewish word 'shalom' or 'peace', which "alludes to the Messianic peace that contains within itself joy, prosperity, goodness and abundance, ... and anticipates St. Francis' greeting of 'peace and goodness'."

As he closed his teaching, the Pope called to mind St. Gregory the Great, who, in his "Homilies on Ezequiel," wrote that the holy city of Jerusalem "is already being built here in the customs of the saints. In a building, one stone supports another, ... and he who supports someone is in his turn supported by someone else. Thus, precisely thus, in the Holy Church each supports and is supported."

"There is a foundation", Benedict reminded the crowd in closing, "that supports the entire weight of the building, and that is our Redeemer, ... of Whom the Apostle writes: 'no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ'."

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