Pope: 'may Jerusalem be a place of communion among religions'

 "Let us pray for Jerusalem to be always more a place of communion among religions, a place of peace" - so said Pope Benedict XVI commenting on Psalm 121 in the words of St Gregory the Great, during his catechesis at yesterday's general audience in St Peter's Square. The Holy Father began his teaching by describing the Psalm as is one of the "most beautiful and passionate" canticles of ascent, "a lively and participated celebration in Jerusalem the holy city to which the pilgrims ascend". The psalm opens with the presentation of two moments lived by the believer: "the day in which he accepts the invitation to 'go to the house of the Lord' and the day of the happy arrival at the 'gates' of Jerusalem". When the pilgrim reaches at last that "holy and beloved" land his lips open in festive song in honour of Zion. Jerusalem "symbol of security and stability the heart of the unity of the twelve tribes of Israel", furthermore there is another reality a sign of God's presence in Israel: "the seats of the house of David, that is the dynasty of David governs, an expression of God's intervention in history which will culminate with the Messiah". The "seats" are also called "seats of justice" because the king was also the supreme judge. "So Jerusalem, the political capital, was also the highest juridical see where controversies were solved in ultimate instance". "Thus the psalm traces an ideal portrayal of Holy City - the Holy Father explained - and its religious and social function, demonstrating that biblical religion is neither abstract nor intimist, but rather a ferment of justice and solidarity. Communion with God is followed necessarily by communion among brothers". The final invocation "is all patterned on the Hebrew word shalom 'peace', traditionally considered the root of the name of the holy city Jerusalem interpreted as the 'city of peace'. As we know- said Benedict XVI - shalom alludes to the messianic peace which includes joy, prosperity, good, abundance. Indeed in the final greeting which the pilgrim addresses to the temple, the 'house of our God, to peace he adds 'good' this is the wish for a blessing on the faithful who love the holy city, on the city's physical reality walls and palaces in which pulses the life of a people, on all brothers and friends. In this way Jerusalem becomes a home of harmony and peace." Source: Fides

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