13 Apr 2014

Pope on Palm Sunday: Where is my heart before the suffering Jesus?


From Vatican Radio:

In the narrative of Christ’s Passion and Death, who am I?

This was the central question of Pope Francis’ homily during Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, where 100,000 had gathered from around the world, bearing palms and olive branches.

The Pope said that while this week begins with a festive procession of welcome and praise of Jesus, it also recalls the mystery of the Lord’s death and resurrection of Holy Week.

During this week, he said, “We would do well to ask just one question: who am I? Who am I, before my Lord? Who am I, who enters into Jerusalem in celebration? Am I able to express my joy, to praise Him? Or do I keep distant? Who am I, before Jesus Who suffers?”

The Holy Father recalled the names of those appearing in the Gospel reading for the day which recounts Christ’s Passion and Death. “Is my life asleep,” he said, like that of the disciples who slept while the Lord suffered? “Am I like Judas, who pretended to love, and kissed the Master to give him over, to betray him? Am I a traitor?”

Pope Francis listed the other players in the account of Christ’s Passion, calling us to ask ourselves if we are like one of these: Pilate, who washed his hands of his responsibility in condemning Jesus; the crowds who chose the criminal Barabbas over Jesus; the soldiers who struck Jesus and mocked him; the passersby who mocked Jesus as he hung on the Cross.

The Pope then went on to name those in the Gospel reading who showed their fidelity to Jesus: Simon of Cyrene, who helped carry the Cross; Joseph of Arimathea, the “hidden disciple,” who offered his own newly-hewn tomb for Jesus’ Body to be laid in; the women who wept and prayed before the tomb. Am I like Mary, he said, the “Mother of Jesus, who was there, suffering silently?”

Pope Francis concluded his homily saying that this question ought to accompany us through Holy Week: “Where is my heart? To which of these people am I most alike?”

After the distribution of Holy Communion, the Holy Father delivered his Angelus address, during which he extended a special greeting to the participants of the World Youth Days (WYD) organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

He recalled that the next WYD will take place in 2016 in Krakow, Poland, under the theme: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Mt 5,7).
The Pope recalled how 30 years ago John Paul II entrusted the WYD Cross to the youth, exhorting them to “carry it through all the world as a sign of Christ’s love for humanity.”
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Rocco over at Whispers in the Loggia provides a translation of the days full homily:


Homily of Pope Francis
Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
St Peter's Square
13 April 2014
 

"This week begins with the festive procession with olive branches: all the people welcome Jesus. The children, the young people sing, praising Jesus.

But this week proceeds into the mystery of Jesus' death and his resurrection. We've heard the
Passion of the Lord.
So it'll do us well to ask ourselves one question: Who am I? Who am I before my Lord? Who am I before the Jesus who enters Jerusalem amid celebration? Am I able to express my joy, to praise him? Or do I keep a distance? Who am I before the Jesus who suffers?

We've heard many names, many names. The group of rulers, some priests, some Pharisees, the teachers of the law, who decided to kill him. They waited for the chance to apprehend him. Am I one of them?

We've likewise heard another name: Judas. Thirty pieces of silver. Am I like Judas? We've heard other names: the disciples who couldn't understand any of it, who fell asleep while Jesus suffered. Has my life fallen asleep? Or am I like the disciples, who didn't understand what betraying Jesus meant? Like that other disciple who wanted to settle everything with the sword: am I like them? Am I like Judas, who made a show of loving and kissing Jesus, only to hand him over, to betray him? Am I a traitor? Am I like those rulers who rushed to hold the tribunal and seek false witnesses: am I like them? And when I do these things, if I do them, do I believe that I save people with this?

Am I like Pilate? When I see that the situation's tough, I wash my hands and don't know to take my responsibility and I let them condemn – or do I condemn – people?

Am I like that crowd which didn't know whether it was taking part in a religious gathering, a trial or a circus, and chooses Barabbas? For them it's all the same: it was more fun to humiliate Jesus.

Am I like the soldiers who strike the Lord, spit on him, insult him, enjoying themselves by humiliating the Lord?

Am I like the Cyrenian who was coming home from work, was tired, but had the goodwill to help the Lord carry the cross?

Am I like those who went before the Cross and taunted Jesus: "If only he had more courage! Come down from the cross, and we'll believe in Him!" They taunted Jesus....

Am I like those courageous women, and like Jesus' Mamma, who were there, suffering in silence?

Am I like Joseph, the hidden disciple, who carries the body of Jesus with love to give it a tomb?

Am I like the two Marys who remain before the Tomb crying, praying?

Am I like those leaders who went to Pilate the following day to say: "Be on guard – this one said he would rise, so don't let them be fooled again!" and blocked his life, blocked the tomb to defend doctrine, so that life could not come out?

Where is my heart? Which of these people am I like? May this question accompany us all through this week.

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