Skip to comments.Pope: Homily for Palm Sunday Mass [full text]
Posted on 03/24/2013 2:55:17 AM PDT by markomalley
(Vatican Radio) Below we publish the official text of Pope Francis Homily for Palm Sunday:
1. Jesus enters Jerusalem. The crowd of disciples accompanies him in festive mood, their garments are stretched out before him, there is talk of the miracles he has accomplished, and loud praises are heard: Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! (Lk 19:38). Crowds, celebrating, praise, blessing, peace: joy fills the air. Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world. He understands human sufferings, he has shown the face of Gods mercy, he has bent down to heal body and soul. Now he enters the Holy City!
It is a beautiful scene, full of light, joy, celebration. At the beginning of Mass, we repeated all this. We waved our palms, our olive branches, we sang Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord (Antiphon); we too welcomed Jesus; we too expressed our joy at accompanying him, at knowing him to be close, present in us and among us as a friend, a brother, and also as a King: that is, a shining beacon for our lives. And here the first word that comes to mind is joy! Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy that comes from having many possessions, but from having encountered a Person: Jesus, from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our lifes journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are so many of them! We accompany, we follow Jesus, but above all we know that he accompanies us and carries us on his shoulders. This is our joy, this is the hope that we must bring to this world of ours. Let us bring the joy of the faith to everyone!
2. But we have to ask: why does Jesus enter Jerusalem? Or better: how does Jesus enter Jerusalem? The crowds acclaim him as King. And he does not deny it, he does not tell them to be silent (cf. Lk 19:39-40). But what kind of a King is Jesus? Let us take a look at him: he is riding on a donkey, he is not accompanied by a court, he is not surrounded by an army as a symbol of power. He is received by humble people, simple folk. Jesus does not enter the Holy City to receive the honours reserved to earthly kings, to the powerful, to rulers; he enters to be scourged, insulted and abused, as Isaiah foretold in the First Reading (cf. Is 50:6). He enters to receive a crown of thorns, a staff, a purple robe: his kingship becomes an object of derision. He enters to climb Calvary, carrying his burden of wood. And this brings us to the second word: Cross. Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to die on the Cross. And it is here that his kingship shines forth in godly fashion: his royal throne is the wood of the Cross! I think of what Benedict XVI said to the cardinals: "You are princes but of a Crucified King"...Jesus says: I am a King; but his power is Gods power which confronts the worlds evil and the sin that disfigures mans face. Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including our own sin, and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God. Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money, which no-one can bring with him, my grandmother would say, no shroud has pockets!
Greed for money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation! And our personal sins: our failures in love and respect towards God, towards our neighbour and towards the whole of creation. Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of Gods love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. Dear friends, we can all conquer the evil that is in us and in the world: with Christ, with the force of good! Do we feel weak, inadequate, powerless? But God is not looking for powerful means: it is through the Cross that he has conquered evil! We must not believe the Evil One when he tells us: you can do nothing to counter violence, corruption, injustice, your sins! We must never grow accustomed to evil! With Christ we can transform ourselves and the world. We must bear the victory of Christs Cross to everyone everywhere, we must bear this great love of God. And this requires all of us not to be afraid to step outside ourselves, to reach out to others. In the Second Reading, Saint Paul tells us that Jesus emptied himself, assuming our condition, and he came to meet us (cf. Phil 2:7). Let us learn to look up towards God, but also down towards others, towards the least of all! And we must not be afraid of sacrifice. Think of a mother or a father: what sacrifices they make! But why? For love! And how do they bear those sacrifices? With joy, because they are made for their loved ones. Christs Cross embraced with love does not lead to sadness, but to joy!
3. Today in this Square, there are many young people: for 28 years Palm Sunday has been World Youth Day! This is our third word: youth! Dear young people, I think of you celebrating around Jesus, waving your olive branches. I think of you crying out his name and expressing your joy at being with him! You have an important part in the celebration of faith! You bring us the joy of faith and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart, always, even at the age of seventy or eighty.! A young heart! With Christ, the heart never grows old! Yet all of us, all of you know very well that the King whom we follow and who accompanies us is very special: he is a King who loves even to the Cross and who teaches us to serve and to love. And you are not ashamed of his Cross! On the contrary, you embrace it, because you have understood that it is in giving ourselves that we have true joy and that God has conquered evil through love. You carry the pilgrim Cross through all the Continents, along the highways of the world! You carry it in response to Jesus call: Go, make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19), which is the theme of World Youth Day this year. You carry it so as to tell everyone that on the Cross Jesus knocked down the wall of enmity that divides people and nations, and he brought reconciliation and peace. Dear friends, I too am setting out on a journey with you, from today, in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI. We are already close to the next stage of this great pilgrimage of Christs Cross. I look forward joyfully to next July in Rio de Janeiro! I will see you in that great city in Brazil! Prepare well prepare spiritually above all in your communities, so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world. Young people must tell the world that it is good to follow Jesus, that it is good to love Jesus and that it is good to go out to the preferies of the world and follow Jesus!
Three words: Joy, Cross and Youth.
Let us ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary. She teaches us the joy of meeting Christ, the love with which we must look to the foot of the Cross, the enthusiasm of the young heart with which we must follow him during this Holy Week and throughout our lives. Amen.
Pope Francis (C) arrives to lead the Palm Sunday mass at Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, March 24, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Pope Francis kisses a child during the Palm Sunday mass at Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican March 24, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Pope Francis leads the Palm Sunday mass at Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican March 24, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
EWTN will rebroadcast the Palm Sunday mass at 8 pm ET. Check your local cable / satellite listings for channel information.
In researching some facts for a children's column in the parish bulletin, I discovered that the donkey is an animal of peace whereas the horse is an animal of war. You probably knew that but for me, it was something new.
Blessed Palm Sunday to you!
I did not. I always thought of the donkey as a beast of burden.
Thanks for the information.
Mules are beasts of burden. Donkeys and horses are interbred to create mules, which have the strength and stamina of the horse but the calm demeanor of the donkey. I don’t believe donkeys are preferable over mules, but I could be wrong.
Blessed Palm Sunday to everyone. Our new Pope certainly looks contemplative during this Passion Sunday.
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Earlier this week, I got all the costumes organized for our children’s procession ... and now it’s 40 degrees and pouring rain. I guess we can process from the kitchen, around past the bathrooms, and into the sanctuary through the fire-exit doors. Good thing we decided (again) not to risk bringing a burro!
In the old days, the donkey or burro was Everyman's equine, small, inexpensive, and suitable for carrying or drawing light loads. So he is a beast of peace, for everyday work.
A horse would be an expensive keeper in the Mediterranean region. They are delicate, inclined to sand colic, subject to all sorts of illnesses. But they are bigger, stronger, much faster than a donkey. They tended to be therefore the province of the wealthy, and used for war (or polo or hunting and such warlike activities).
Somewhere along the way, somebody had the bright idea of having a donkey stallion (a/k/a "jack") cover horse mares, and the product is the mule (a horse stallion on a female donkey gives you a hinny or jenny, which has never been very popular.) The Spanish or Mammoth jacks are used on Belgian mares to produce a draft type mule, and on QH or TB mares for a saddle mule.
Mules are larger than donkeys and more suitable for harness or saddle. They are stronger, smarter, and not as delicate as horses, they are much easier keepers, and less subject to the panoply of horse diseases.
But they are NOT more equable - if anything they have a nasty streak. My dad always said, never trust a mule. William Faulkner said, a mule will work for you 20 years for a chance to kick you once. I have actually plowed behind a mule, under the watchful eye of my great-aunt Ruth's boss man. Her name was Snowball and she was a real sweetheart - but I kept an eye on her just the same.
I’m in Rome right now and I was at the mass this morning. One thing that he said in his homily (which was in Italian) that diverged from the official text was to quote BXVI, who said in his words to a new crop of cardinals that “they were now princes...but princes of a king who died on a cross.”
I really adored BXVI but I am completely impressed by Francis. I have read ugly words from conservatives, who appear to hate him and regard him, at best, as “highly suspect.”
Suspect of what? Being a Christian and not worrying about how many fringes he has on his phylacteries?
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