Thursday, 11 September 2003

Vatican City (Fides Service) – Continuing his teaching on the Psalms and Canticles used in the Morning and Evening Prayer of the Church, during his Wednesday Audience on 10 September in St Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul II reflected on the Canticle of Ezekiel: “God will renew his people”(Ez 36, 24-28).
“The context of this page, transformed into a hymn by the liturgy, intends to describe the deeper meaning of the tragedy lived by the people in those years” the Holy Father said. “In fact the sin of idolatry had contaminated the land given by the Lord in heritage to Israel. Idolatry, more than any other cause is responsible, in a final analysis, for the loss of the homeland and dispersion among the nations. God is in fact not indifferent to good and evil; he enters mysteriously the scene of humanity’s history with his judgement which, sooner or later, unmasks evil, defends victims, points to the path of justice”.
But the objective of God’s intervention is “never the ruin, or simple condemnation and annihilation of the sinner”. After purification through trials and suffering, there comes the dawn of a new era a between the Lord and Israel. “I will give them a new heart and a new spirit: I will take from their breast the heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh, that they may follow my decrees and keep my laws and put them into practice; they will be my people and I will be their God (11,19-20)…The prophet Ezekiel announces a new people, which the New Testament will see convoked by God himself through the work of his Son. This community, with a and infused with the will experience the living and operative presence of God who will animate believers working in them with his effective grace”.
At the end of his teaching the Holy Father asked those present to pray for the success of his apostolic pilgrimage to Slovakia, the Pope said: “Tomorrow I will start with great hope my third visit to Slovakia, a land enriched by the testimony of heroic disciples of Christ who left eloquent traces of holiness in the history of that nation. Dearest brothers and sisters, I ask you to accompany me with your prayers. I entrust this apostolic journey to the Mother of the Redeemer, so deeply venerated in Slovakia. Mays he guide my steps and obtain for the Slovakian people a new springtime of faith and civil progress”. SL (Fides Service 11/9/2003 EM lines 29 Words: 416)