God Alone Is Sufficient for Us, Says John Paul II

Comments on Psalm 15(16) at General Audience

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 28, 2004 (Zenit.org).- God is the human being's only good, said John Paul II as he offered a meditation on a Psalm that rejects idolatry.



The Pope traveled this morning from his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo to Rome to meet with some 5,000 pilgrims who gathered in Paul VI Hall for the general audience.

The Holy Father used Psalm 15(16) for today's catechesis, calling it "a luminous mystical canticle" in which God is presented "as the only good and because of this the man of prayer decides to become part of the community of all those who are faithful to the Lord."

"Consequently, the Psalmist categorically rejects the temptation to idolatry with its bloody rituals and blasphemous invocations," John Paul II said. He was continuing his series of commentaries on the Psalms and canticles that form part of the liturgy of vespers, the Church's evening prayer.

The biblical passage is full of symbolic words used by the Jewish people to refer to God: "portion," "cup," "inheritance."

"These words were used to describe the gift of the land promised to the people of Israel," the Pope said. "We now know that the only tribe that had not received a portion of land was that of the Levites, because the Lord himself was their heritage."

Hence, the Psalmist says: "Lord, my allotted portion ... fair to me indeed is my inheritance," the Holy Father explained.

John Paul II referred to a commentary of St. Augustine on the Psalm: "The Psalmist does not say: O God give me heritage! What will you give me as heritage?"

"He says instead: Everything that you give me besides yourself is vile. You yourself be my heritage. It is you whom I love ... to hope for God from God, to be filled of God by God. He is sufficient, besides him nothing can satisfy you," the Pope said.

If God is all that a person can have, then outside of God there is only death, the Pontiff explained. In this connection, one can say that "intimacy" with God ensures "victory over death."

Other papal reflections on the Psalms and canticles are posted at the Wednesday's Audience section of ZENIT's Web page.