Pope: Meditate on Christ's passion during Holy Week
Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square on April 13, 2014. Credit: Lauren Cater / CNA.
Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square on April 13, 2014. Credit: Lauren Cater / CNA.
By Kerri Lenartowick
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- In his Palm Sunday homily, Pope Francis urged the congregation to consider how their actions and attitudes reflected the various characters in the story of Jesus’ passion and death.

“We have heard the (Gospel reading of the) Passion of the Lord. Only, it does us good to ask a question: Who am I? Who am I before my Lord? Who am I before Jesus who enters festively into Jerusalem?” the Pope said on April 13.

“This week moves towards the mystery of the death of Jesus and of his resurrection,” noted the pontiff. “Where is my heart and which of these persons am I most like? It is this question that accompanies us throughout the week.”

The crowds filled a sunny St. Peter’s Square to attend the papal liturgy, clutching olive branches and woven palms as they listened to Pope Francis reflect on the different persons in the Gospel.

Departing entirely from his prepared remarks, the Holy Father considered each figure in the story, followed by questions about their relation to Jesus.

First, the Gospel recounts Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where he is welcomed by adoring crowds. “Do I have the capacity to express my joy, to praise him? Or do I move away? Who am I, before Jesus who suffers?” queried the pontiff.

Then, there are several groups of leaders, priests, pharisees, and teachers of law who decide to kill Jesus. “Am I like one of them?”

“Am I like Judas, who pretends to love and kisses the master to hand him over, to betray him? Am I a traitor?” he reflected.

“Or am I like the disciples who did not understand what it was to betray Jesus?” The Pope continued. They “did not understand anything...they fell asleep while the Lord suffered. Is my life asleep?”

The pontiff went on to several other figures, including Pontius Pilate, who saw that “the situation was difficult” and decided to “wash his hands of it,” refusing to “assume responsibility.”

The crowd who had once welcomed Jesus so joyfully turned on him, finding it “more amusing” to “humiliate Jesus,” while the soldiers “spit on him, insulted him.”

When Jesus takes up his cross, more compassionate figures emerge. “Am I like Simon of Cyrene who was returning from work, tired, but had the good will to to help the Lord carry the cross?” asked the Holy Father.

“Am I like to courageous women, and like the mother of Jesus, who were there, suffering in silence?”

“Am I like the two Marys who remained in front of the tomb, weeping, praying?”

After his homily, the Pope continued the Mass but concluded with a special welcome to those gathered in Rome to plan the next World Youth Day.

At the close of the liturgy, several Brazilian youth handed off the large wooden cross used at World Youth Day to young people from Poland. The 2013 event had been held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, while the next gathering in 2016 will be in Krakow, Poland.

Pope Francis noted that Blessed John Paul II had entrusted the cross to youth 30 years ago. “He asked them to carry it in all the world as a sign of the love of Christ for humanity.”

The pontiff then announced that he hopes to meet with the youth of Asia during his trip to Korea on August 15 of this year.

“Let us ask the Lord that the Cross, together with the icon of Mary ‘Salus Populi Romani’ (Protectress of the Roman People), will be a sign of hope for all, revealing to the world the invincible love of Christ,” said the Holy Father.

He went on to lead the crowds in the Angelus prayer at the conclusion of the Mass.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 27, 2015

Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 3:22-30


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 3:22-30