Pope Francis’ Homily at Palm Sunday
Vatican City, April 13, 2014 (Zenit.org)
This week begins with the festive procession of olive branches: the whole people welcome Jesus. The children, the young people sing, they praise Jesus.
But this week then moves forward into the mystery of the death of Jesus and of his resurrection. We have heard the Passion of the Lord. We will do well to pose just a single question: Who am I? Who am I before my Lord? Who am I before Jesus who enters into Jerusalem? Am I capable of expressing my joy, of praising him? Or do I distance myself from him? Who am I before Jesus who suffers?
We have heard many names, many names. The group of leaders, some priests, some Pharisees, some teachers of the Law, who have decided to kill him. They waited for the opportunity to seize him. Am I like one of them?
We have also heard another name: Judas. 30 pieces of silver. Am I like Judas? We heard other names: the disciples who understood nothing, who slept while the Lord suffered. Do I sleep through my life? Or am I like the disciples, who did not understand what it meant to betray Jesus? Am I like that other disciple who wanted to resolve everything with the sword? Am I like them? Am I like Judas, who pretends to lover and kissed the Master to hand him over, to betray him? Am I a traitor? Am I like the leaders who hastily put together the tribunal and look for false witnesses? Am I like them? And when I do these things, if I do them, do I believe that I save the people in this way?
Am I like Pilate? When I see that the situation is difficult, do I wash my hands and not know how to accept my responsibility and let people be condemned, or condemn them myself?
Am I like that crowd that did not know whether it was in a religious meeting, a trial or a circus, and chooses Barabbas? For them it was the same: it was more entertaining to humiliate Jesus.
Am I like the soldiers who strike the Lord, spit upon him, insult him, have fun humiliating him?
Am I like the Cyrenian who was returning from work, tired, but who had the good will to help the Lord carry the cross?
Am I like those who passed in front of the cross and joked about Jesus: “He was so courageous! Let him come down from the cross and we will believe in him! Joking about Jesus…
Am I like those courageous women, and like Jesus’ Mother, who were there, suffering in silence?
Am I like Joseph, the hidden disciple, who carried Jesus’ body with love, to put him in the tomb?
Am I like the 2 Marys who remain at the tomb crying, praying?
Am I like those leaders who on the following day went to Pilate to say: “Look, he said that he would be raised. Make sure that more deception does not happen!” and hold back life, block the tomb to defend doctrine, so that life does not come out?
Where is my heart? Which of these people am I like? May this question accompany us this whole week.
[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]
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