“God’s way of acting may seem so far removed from our own, that he was annihilated for our sake, while it seems difficult for us to even forget ourselves a little.”
Exactly one week before Easter Sunday, Pope Francis made this point and reminded the faithful that Jesus humbled and emptied Himself for us, and we are to start living as He taught us to.
In his homily in St. Peter’s Square, Francis stressed that Jesus comes to save us and we are not to follow ‘our way,’ but choose His, namely “the way of service, of giving, of forgetfulness of ourselves.”
We Are Invited
“Let us walk this path,” the Pope encouraged, “pausing in these days to gaze upon the Crucifix, the ‘royal seat of God,’ to learn about the humble love which saves and gives life, so that we may give up all selfishness, and the seeking of power and fame.”
By humbling himself, the Pope explained, Jesus invited us to walk on his path.
“Let us turn our faces to him, let us ask for the grace to understand something of the mystery of his obliteration for our sake; and then, in silence, let us contemplate the mystery of this Week.”
Just as Jesus entered Jerusalem, He desires to enter our cities and our lives, the Pope said.
Through the power of His divine love, the Holy Father highlighted, the Lord forgives our sins and reconciles us to the Father and with ourselves.
“May nothing prevent us from finding in Him the source of our joy, true joy, which abides and brings peace; for it is Jesus alone who saves us from the snares of sin, death, fear and sadness.”
Today’s liturgy, the Pope recalled, teaches us that the Lord has not saved us by ‘His triumphal entry or by means of powerful miracles,’ but by humbling and emptying himself.
These two verbs, the Jesuit Pope pointed out, show the boundlessness of God’s love for us. “Jesus emptied himself: He did not cling to the glory that was His as the Son of God, but became the Son of Man in order to be in solidarity with us sinners in all things; yet He was without sin.”
Even more, Francis said, Jesus lived in the condition “not of a king or a prince,” but “of a servant.”
Experience utmost humility, and resisting temptations, Jesus forgives those who are crucifying Him.
“If the mystery of evil is unfathomable, then the reality of Love poured out through Him is infinite, reaching even to the tomb and to hell,” the Pope said, noting He took upon Himself all our pain.
Stressing how Jesus’ self sacrifice brought light to darkness, life to death, love to hatred, Francis called on faithful to examine how they can better live ‘God’s way’ in their lives.
At the end of the celebration, the Pope recognized that today is World Youth Day, giving a special greeting to the young people gathered.
Francis noted the 31st World Youth Day, commemorated today, which will culminate in the “great world Meeting in Krakow,” Poland, this July.
Recalling that this year’s WYD theme is “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy,” Francis said, “I hope that many of you can come to Krakow, the homeland of Saint John Paul II, the founder of World Youth Day.”
The Holy Father also acknowledged that present in the Square were many young volunteers from Krakow.
“Returning to Poland,” the Jesuit Pope said, “they will take to the leaders of the nation the olive branches gathered from Jerusalem, Assisi, and Montecassino” which were blessed during the ceremony, “as an invitation to cultivate proposals for peace, reconciliation, and fraternity.”
“Go forward with courage!” the Holy Father encouraged, thanking the young people for their efforts.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Homily Text: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-palm-sunday-homily/
Angelus Translation: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-angelus-address-on-palm-sunday/