At a time of world tensions, John Paul II sounded a note of hope at his midweek general audience Oct. 17, telling thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square that evil does not have “the last word.”

“For the one who is under the shadow of divine protection,” there is the certainty that “good, not evil, has the last word,” the Holy Father said. “God triumphs over hostile powers, even when they seem majestic and invincible.”

The Holy Father was commenting on Psalm 48, as he continued this year's series of meditations on morning prayers used in the Liturgy of the Hours. The psalm is a hymn in honor of the Holy City, Zion, where the Lord dwells in the midst of his people.

God's faithful people give thanks to the Lord who delivers them from powerful armies surrounding Zion; they recognize that it is he who has saved them.

The thoughts of the Christian who reads this psalm turn to Christ, the Good Shepherd who guides his flock to safe pastures.