“There is no negotiating with the cross: one either embraces it or rejects it,” Pope Francis said in his Palm Sunday homily yesterday. Source: CNS.
Thousands of people gathered in St Peter’s Square yesterday to commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the beginning of his passion.
The procession to the obelisk in the centre of the square included dozens of young people carrying palm branches taller than they were, while bishops, cardinals and Pope Francis carried “palmurelli”, woven palms. All pilgrims in the square were given olive branches donated by an Italian association of olive oil producers.
After blessing the palms and listening to the Gospel reading of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the young people, bishops, cardinals and the Pope processed to the steps of St Peter’s Basilica for the main part of the Mass, which included the reading of the Passion.
At the Vatican and in many parts of the world, Palm Sunday is also marked as the local celebration of World Youth Day, and Francis spoke specifically to young people in his homily.
“Countless holy men and women have followed Jesus on the path of humility and obedience,” the Pope said. The holy ones include many young people recognised by the Church as saints or known only to God.
“Dear young people,” Francis said, “do not be ashamed to show your enthusiasm for Jesus, to shout out that he is alive and that he is your life.”
At the same time, he said, “do not be afraid to follow him on the way of the cross. When you hear that he is asking you to renounce yourselves, to let yourselves be stripped of every security and to entrust yourselves completely to our Father in heaven, then rejoice and exult! You are on the path of the kingdom of God.”