April 9, 2017
Palm Sunday – Short Address at the end of the afternoon procession
Dear brothers and sisters.
Dear faithful who have come here from all parts of the Holy Land, from Jerusalem, Palestine and Israel.
Dear Pilgrims who have come from all parts of the world to celebrate with us this solemn day.
May the peace of Christ come to all of you!
In particular, I greet the Scouts and the different groups that after the ceremony will continue to march through the city bringing with them their traditions and their respective communities. May the Lord bless all!
Today we had a lovely experience of Church. We walked and sang together, we rejoiced and some also danced together, even without knowing each other, without having a common language. We had a beautiful experience of Church, because we felt united, all together, in the joy of all belonging to Christ. In Him we met. In Him we understood each another. We do not need to speak the same language, because our hearts have already understood one another.
Today Jerusalem has known and touched firsthand the joy of being Christians. Today this joy, which generally remains hidden like seed beneath the soil, has become visible through your joyous and numerous presence.
Today, as every year for two thousand years, we entered with Christ the Holy City, going along again His same path of two thousand years ago, to proclaim to all, and loudly, that He is our King and we belong to Him.
But woe to us if we confined ourselves only to following His geographic path and neglected to follow Him in His life and with our life.
From here Jesus proclaimed His sovereignty. Nevertheless, His throne is not founded on human power, but on the cross. From the cross he overcame the world.
At the end of this celebration we will receive a benediction from a relic of that very same cross which from Calvary ruled and continues to rule the world.
If we want to follow Him, if we want to belong to Him not only in words, we must follow Him there to the end. Jesus says: “Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me, is not worthy of me” (Mt 10:38).
The cross, however, is not a sign of pain and suffering, but before all else it is the measure of His love for us. It is that love that has overcome the world. Following Him on the cross means to love with His standard, that is, to the end. Belonging to his Kingdom means to be capable of love, as He showed us.
The king Messiah who today enters Jerusalem will judge, seated on the throne of the Cross, all peoples.
He will judge them worthy of His love and salvation. He will not be a king jealous of His privileges, He will not need to demonstrate His authority by force.
He will bring peace, and will make it not by wars nor by using violence against anyone, but by taking on Himself all the evil, all the rejection, all the sin of the world. Nothing will remain outside of this infinite embrace.
But since He will do it out of love, death will have no power over Him, because all that is love is stronger than death. And from there He will bring peace, from a reconciliation given equally to all, without merit, which makes us all brothers alike.
In this city, where division, hatred and suspicion always seem to prevail, where in daily life we experience how difficult it is to admit being brothers in normal humanity, where the other at times becomes a cause of threat and fear, we Christians are called to say who we are and to whom we belong. Indeed, every day we experience difficulty of all kinds: at work, in travel, in the family, in all sorts of relationships. It all becomes burdensome, complicated and it’s difficult to witness in daily life the joy of the Christian life.
So, here today, in this lovely assembly, with our presence we announce that we are strong and that no matter what we shall overcome. We do not have power, we do not have money, we do not have numbers. We only have Christ and His love. And no one can separate us from the love to which we belong (cf Rom 8:35). Jerusalem will always remain Christian as well, because despite so many divisions, there will always be many little seeds of love – Christians – who even if trampled upon will be able to hold out. Today, united together by the love that Christ has left us as an inheritance we feel still stronger, because we have taken a beautiful bath of Christian joy, which we needed in order to catch again strength in this our journey.
Courage therefore! May the Lord give us strength and give the courage of immeasurable love.
Have a blessed Holy Week and a fruitful journey towards the Risen Lord!
Original version in italian