At his general audience today the Pope commented on the thanksgiving canticle of the redeemed, from the Book of Isaiah (12:1-6). He called it a messianic passage in which Christians discover the essential features of the person and mission of Jesus Christ.
The canticle is composed by a person "who has lived a bitter experience, regarded as an act of divine justice," the Bishop of Rome explained to the 16,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter´s Square.
"But now the trial is over, the purification has been effected; the Lord´s anger is replaced by a smile, a readiness to save and console," John Paul II added.
The Holy Father was continuing his more than yearlong series of meditations on the Psalms and Old Testament canticles that have become part of Christians´ daily prayer.
The biblical canticle is divided in two passages. In the first, the believer experiences the "savior" or "salvation," concepts that he repeats because he has the "absolute certainty that divine grace is at the root of deliverance and hope," the Pope said.
For a people, in whose history water plays a decisive role, the salvation of God is "able to make joy and trust flower even in the dark day of trial," the Holy Father said. He quoted Cyril of Alexandria (circa 376-444): "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation."
"Unfortunately, humanity often abandons this fountain, which quenches the thirst of the whole being of the person," the Holy Father said.
This fact opens the way to the second part of the canticle: an urgent invitation to invoke, proclaim and announce God the Savior "who intervenes in history and is next to his creature, sharing his vicissitudes," he said.
"This profession of faith also has a missionary function," the Pope concluded. "The salvation obtained must be witnessed to the world, so that the whole of humanity will run to those fountains of peace, joy and freedom."