Castel Gandolfo (Fides Service) – In his teaching to the people who gathered at his Summer residence in Castel Gandolfo on Wednesday 30 July, to listen to his words and receive his blessing, Pope John Paul II reflected on Psalm 50: Have mercy on me Lord”.
“This is the fourth time in our reflections on the Liturgy of the Hours that we listen to the proclamation of Psalm 50, the well known Miserere. It is in fact proposed every Friday so it may become an oasis of meditation in which to discover the evil lurking in our conscience and to beg purification and forgiveness of the Lord ” the Pope said in his address. “The message of hope which the Psalter puts on the lips of David, a converted sinner, is this: God will <remove, wash, cleanse> faults confessed with a contrite heart”.
In his teaching the Holy Father dwelt in particular on the last part of the Psalm, dominated by the hope of the Psalmist conscious of having received God’s forgiveness: “Now his mouth is about to proclaim the Lord’s praises to the world, expressing in this way the joy of a soul purified from evil and therefore freed of remorse. The praying person testifies clearly another conviction: the most pleasing sacrifice which rises to the Lord as perfume and sweet fragrance is not a holocaust of bulls or rams but rather <a humble and contrite heart>”.
The Psalm ends unexpectedly with a prayer for the reconstruction of Jerusalem: “It is clear that this final passage is a later addition, made during the exile” the Pope explained, underlining that this was to broaden the breadth of the prayer, taking into consideration the pitiful situation of the city and also to put in the right perspective the divine rejection of ritual sacrifices prescribed by God himself in the Torah. “The person who completed the Psalm had a valid intuition: he saw the necessity in which sinners find themselves, a need for sacrificial mediation. Sinners are unable to purify themselves on their own; good intentions are not sufficient. There must be effective external mediation. The New Testament will reveal the full meaning of the intuition, showing that by offering his life, Christ performed a perfect sacrificial mediation”. SL (Fides Service 31/7/2003 EM lines 28 Words: 392)