“God is at our side in every affliction, in every fear; no evil, no sin will ever have the final word. God triumphs, but the palm of victory passes through the wood of the cross. For the palm and the cross are inseparable,” he said.
“Let us ask for the grace to be amazed. A Christian life without amazement becomes dreary.”
The pope said that his namesake St. Francis of Assisi was surprised that his friars did not cry when they meditated on the crucifixion.
“What about us? Can we still be moved by God’s love? Have we lost the ability to be amazed by him? Maybe our faith has grown dull from habit. Maybe we remain trapped in our regrets and allow ourselves to be crippled by our disappointments. Maybe we have lost all our trust or even feel worthless,” he said.
“But behind all these ‘maybes’ lies the fact that we are not open to the gift of the Spirit who gives us the grace of amazement.”
The pope urged people facing this struggle to “start over from amazement”
“Let us gaze upon Jesus on the cross and say to him: ‘Lord, how much you love me! How precious I am to you!’ Let us be amazed by Jesus so that we can start living again, for the grandeur of life lies not in possessions and asserting oneself, but in realizing that we are loved.”
Papal liturgies throughout Holy Week will be much smaller than usual due to the ongoing pandemic.
On Holy Thursday, the pope will preside over the Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on the morning of April 1. But he will not be present at the Vatican’s Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, will preside instead.
Good Friday at the Vatican will include both the papal liturgy of the Passion of the Lord at 6 p.m. local time and the Stations of the Cross with Pope Francis at 9 p.m. in St. Peter’s Square.
The pope will offer the Easter Vigil Mass on April 3 in St. Peter’s Basilica at 7:30 p.m. and will also celebrate the Easter Sunday Mass at 10 a.m. after which he will offer the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing.
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Concluding his Palm Sunday homily, Pope Francis said: “Today God continues to fill our minds and hearts with amazement. Let us be filled with that amazement as we gaze upon the crucified Lord. May we too say: ‘You are truly the Son of God. You are my God.’”