VATICAN CITY, FEB. 19, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that only God's love can renew man's heart, and only if the heart of paralyzed humanity is healed can it get up and walk.
The Pope delivered that message today before he recited the midday Angelus with more than 30,000 people who gathered in St. Peter's Square.
The Holy Father focused on Jesus' desire to heal man's heart and, in doing so, explained the Gospel passage of the day's liturgy, the healing of the paralytic, in Mark 2:1-12.
Jesus "said to the paralytic: 'My son, your sins are forgiven,'" a way of acting that showed "above all he wants to heal the spirit," the Pontiff said from the window of his study. "Only afterward, to show the authority that has been conferred on him by God to forgive sins, [Jesus] adds: 'Rise, take up your pallet and walk,' and heals him completely.
"The message is clear: Man, paralyzed by sin, needs the mercy of God that Christ has come to give him so that, healed in his heart, the whole of his life can again flourish."
Benedict XVI continued: "The paralytic is [an] image of all human beings whom sin prevents from moving freely, from walking on the path of goodness, to give the best of themselves.
"In fact, evil, nestling in the spirit, binds man with the cords of deceit, anger, envy and other sins and, little by little, paralyzes him."
Signs of sin
"Also today," the Pope added, "humanity bears the signs of sin which prevent it from progressing quickly in those values of fraternity, justice and peace, which it has proposed itself in solemn declarations."
Aware that the causes of the blockage and paralysis of humanity on this path "are manifold," Benedict XVI invited the faithful to believe and have confidence that "only Jesus can really cure."
"Only the love of God can renew man's heart, and only if the heart of paralyzed humanity is healed can it get up and walk. The love of God is the true force that renews the world," he stressed.
"To lead the men of our time to Christ the Redeemer so that through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, he could heal them" was "the basic choice" of those who preceded Benedict XVI in the Petrine ministry, the Pope said.
Especially "our beloved John Paul II," he added, wringing loud applause from the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square.
"I have also wanted to proceed on this path," Benedict XVI affirmed. "With the first encyclical 'Deus Caritas Est,' I wished to indicate, to believers and to the whole world, God as source of authentic love."
The Holy Father also invoked the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, "so that all men will be open to the merciful love of God, and thus the human family might be profoundly healed from the evils afflicting it."
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