Homily at the Blessing of Palms
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May the Lord give you peace! Centuries ago, as Jesus prepared to enter into the city of Jerusalem in triumph, the people came out to meet him. Who can say precisely why they gathered around him? Some, no doubt, wanted simply to see him. Others surely wanted to hear what he would say. Still others perhaps came out only to see what the commotion was about.
Today we, too, have come to gather around “Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee,” but why have we come (Matthew 21:11)? What are the motives of our hearts? As with that first procession with palms, some have surely come out of mere curiosity; others because parents have insisted they come; and others yet simply to fulfill an obligation. But some have no doubt come because they truly want to meet Jesus the Christ.
My friends, in his Apostolic Exhortation EvangeliiGaudium, Pope Francis has given us an urgent invitation. He writes:
I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least to an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord” (3).
Carrying, then, the palms of his victory in our hands, let us clear the road of our hearts before him to encounter him anew.