"Violence is contrary to the Kingdom of God, it is a tool of the Antichrist. Violence never serves humanity, but dehumanizes it", "it is impossible to interpret Jesus as a violent person" This is what Benedict XVI said today in his reflection before the Angelus with the pilgrims in St Peter's Square, commenting on the Gospel of the third Sunday of Lent, which proposes the episode of the Purification of the Temple of Jerusalem (John 2, 13-25 ).
In the past, many theologians have used this fact to argue the need for Christians to engage in violent revolutionary action."The expulsion of the merchants from the temple - explained the pope - was also interpreted in a political revolutionary sense, placing Jesus in line with the movement of the Zealots. These were, indeed," zealous "for God's law and ready to use violence to enforce it. At the time of Jesus they were waiting for a Messiah who would liberate Israel from Roman rule. But he disappointed them in this, to the extent that some disciples deserted him and even Judas Iscariot betrayed him. In fact, it is impossible to interpret Jesus as a violent person, violence is contrary to the Kingdom of God, it is a tool of the Antichrist. Violence never serves humanity, but dehumanizes. "
"Let us listen then - he said - to the words that Jesus said as he was carrying out that gesture: 'Take these things and make not my Father's house a market!'. And then the disciples remembered that it was written in the Psalm, 'He devours Zeal for your house '(69.10). This psalm is a cry for help in a situation of extreme danger because of the hatred of enemies: the situation that Jesus will experience in his passion. Zeal for the Father and for his house led him to the cross: his is the zeal of love that pays in first person, not that of a person who wants to serve God through violence. In fact the 'sign' that Jesus gives as proof of his authority is his own death and resurrection. 'Destroy this temple - he said - and in three days I will raise it'. And St. John notes: "'He spoke of the temple of his body' (Jn 2:20-21). With the Easter of Jesus begins a new cult, the cult of love, and a new church which is Christ himself, the Risen Christ, by which every believer can worship God the Father 'in spirit and truth' (Jn 4.23). Dear friends, the Holy Spirit has begun to build this new temple in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Through her intercession, we pray that every Christian becomes a stone of this spiritual house."
After the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI launched an appeal for the people of Madagascar, hit by Hurricane Joan last week (February 13) and tropical storm Irina (February 26-March 2) that has taken hundreds of lives and destroyed the homes of over 30 thousand people. "My thoughts - said the pope - first of all go to the dear people of Madagascar, who have recently been hit by severe natural disasters, with serious damage to people, structures and crops. While I assure my prayers for the victims and families, I hope and encourage the generous assistance of the international community."
Finally, Pope Benedict greeted pilgrims from around the world, including those from English speaking countries: “I greet the English-speaking visitors present for this Angelus prayer, including the Neo-catechumenal Community from Bristol. In today’s Gospel Jesus foretells his resurrection and points to the temple which is his body, the Church. May our meditation on these mysteries deepen our union with the Lord and his Church. Upon all of you I invoke God’s blessings!”