VATICAN CITY, JUN 18, 2003 (VIS) - In this Wednesday's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square in which 11,000 people participated, the Pope spoke about the canticle of the prophet Isaiah that is found in the third part of the book of Isaiah, which proclaims "the prophet's joy for the New Jerusalem."
In the canticle proclaimed today, the Holy Father said, Isaiah describes the "rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple" after the exile of Babylon.
"The prophet opens the canticle by describing the reborn people, wrapped in splendid clothing, as a bride and groom who are preparing for the big day of the wedding. ... The prophets use the image of the seed, in different ways, to describe the messianic king. The messiah is a fruitful seed that renews the world and the prophet specifies the profound meaning of this vitality: 'The Lord God will plant justice', so that the city will be holy like a garden of justice, that is, of fidelity and truth, of law and love."
John Paul II affirmed that the "symbolism of marriage ... is one of the most intense images that appear in the Bible to exalt the bond of intimacy and the pact of love between the Lord and the chosen people."
"The words that indicated the previous situation of abandonment and desolation, that is the devastation of the city by the Babylonians and the drama of exile," he continued, "are now replaced by words of rebirth and are terms of love, tenderness, celebration and joy."
The Pope concluded by saying that "this nuptial symbolism will be used in the New Testament and will be taken up and developed by the Fathers of the Church. St. Ambrose, for example, recalls in this way 'the bridegroom is Christ, the bride is the Church'."
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