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Wednesday, November 17, 2004


VATICAN CITY, NOV 17, 2004 (VIS) - Today's general audience took place in the Paul VI Hall, during which the Pope dedicated the catechesis to Psalm 66, "May all peoples glorify the Lord."

  The Holy Father said that, in this psalm, the phrase "'the earth has yielded its fruit', makes us think of a hymn of thanksgiving, addressed to the Creator for the gifts of the earth, a sign of divine blessing."

  "The divine blessing asked for by Israel manifests itself in the fertility of the land and in fecundity, or the gift of life. ... Thanks to the blessing that Israel begged God for, all of humanity will be able to know 'the way' and the 'the saving power' of the Lord, that is His saving plan. It is revealed to all creatures and all societies that God judges and governs the peoples and the nations in the entire world, leading everyone toward the horizons of justice and peace."

  John Paul II stated that the psalm alludes to the "wall of separation that separated the Jews and the Pagans in the temple of Jerusalem," as described in the Letter to the Ephesians: "'But now in Jesus Christ, you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. In effect, He is our peace: He who made us both one and who has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, enmity. ... So that you are no longer strangers or guests but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God."

  "In this text," he added, "there is a message for us: we must break down the walls of division, hostility and hatred so that the family of God can gather in harmony around one table to bless and praise the Creator for the many gifts with which He enriches our lives, with no distinctions."

  The Holy Father concluded by underscoring that Christian tradition "has interpreted Psalm 66 in a Christological and mariological way.  For the Fathers of the Church, 'the earth has yielded its fruit' refers to Our Lady who gave birth to Christ."

  When greeting pilgrims in different languages at the end of the audience, the Pope addressed the families of members of the Italian military who died one year ago in Nassiriya, Iraq, recalling that "while they were carrying out their mission of peace."
AG/PSALM 66/...                                VIS 20041117 (390)

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