Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) - "The devil is always trying to wreck God's work, sowing divisions in the human heart, between body and soul, man and God, in interpersonal, social and international relations, even between man and creation. The devil sows war; God creates peace," said Benedict XVI in today's Angelus. The papal teachings were inspired by today's Gospel, which relates the story of how Jesus expelled the "seven demons" from Mary of Magdala.
Speaking to some 3,000 people in the courtyard of the apostolic palace in Castelgandolfo, the pope, after the Marian prayer, expressed his best wishes to the upcoming London Olympics as well as his closeness to the families of the victims of the tragedies in Aurora, United States, and Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Before the Angelus, Benedict XVI noted that "The Word of God this Sunday reminds us of a fundamental and always fascinating Biblical theme. It reminds us that God is the Shepherd of humanity. This means that God wants life for us; he wants to lead us to good pasture, where we can feed and rest. He does not want us to get lost and die; he wants us to reach the goal of our journey, which is the fullness of life. This is what every father and every mother wants for their children: goodness, happiness and fulfilment."
The episode of Mary of Magdala, the pope said, shows that the "deep healing" God performs through Jesus "lies in true and full peace, the fruit of reconciliation of oneself with oneself and in all other relations: with God, others and the world." This is the opposite of what evil tries to do.
To achieve this act of radical reconciliation, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, became the lamb, "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn, 1:29). Only this way, could he fulfil the wonderful promise of the Psalm: "Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days,' (Psalms, 22:6). These words make the heart pulse because they express our deepest desire. They say why we were made: life, eternal life."
"May the Olympic Games also be an occasion to promote brotherhood and peace," Benedict XVI said. "The Olympics are the greatest sporting events in the world, with athletes from many nations participating, and as such carry a strong symbolic value. For this, the Catholic Church looks upon them with particular warmth and attention."
"We pray that with the will of God the Games in London will be a true experience of brotherhood between the peoples of the world." May they "bear fruit, promoting peace and reconciliation throughout the world."
Speaking again in English, Benedict XVI said he "was deeply shocked by the senseless violence which took place in Aurora, Denver, and saddened by the loss of life in the recent ferry disaster near Zanzibar. I share the distress of the families and friends of the victims and the injured, especially the children, assuring all of you of my closeness in prayer".