During his Palm Sunday Mass at the St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis urged the faithful to focus on the cross during Holy Week and rediscover “amazement” in Jesus’s saving Passion.
For his homily, Pope Francis reflected on Jesus’s triumphal entry in Jerusalem, and how the people who happily greeted Him with palms eventually turned their backs on Him. (Read: Five things to know about Palm Sunday)
“What happened to those people who in a few days’ time went from shouting ‘Hosanna’ to crying out ‘Crucify him’? What happened?” the Pope asked.
“They were following an idea of the Messiah rather than the Messiah. They admired Jesus, but they did not let themselves be amazed by him,” he explained.
The Grace of Amazement
According to Pope Francis, admiring Jesus “is not enough.” The faithful must see the true meaning of Jesus’s Passion and Resurrection, and realize what is amazing about Him and His Passover.
“It is the fact that he achieves glory through humiliation. He triumphs by accepting suffering and death— things that we, in our quest for admiration and success, would rather avoid,” he said. (Read: 3 Ways to Observe Holy Week While on Lockdown)
Pope Francis then went on to urge the faithful to open themselves to the gift of the Spirit and start over with amazement. “Can we still be moved by God’s love? Have we lost the ability to be amazed by him?” he asked the Mass attendees.
“Maybe our faith has grown dull from habit. Maybe we remain trapped in our regrets and allow ourselves to be crippled by our disappointments… Behind all these ‘maybes’ lies the fact that we are not open to the gift of the Spirit who gives us the grace of amazement,” he said.
“Let us gaze upon Jesus on the cross and say to him: ‘Lord, how much you love me! How precious I am to you!’ Let us be amazed by Jesus so that we can start living again,” the Pope said.
Holy Week Liturgies
This is the second year that attendance was limited at the papal Palm Sunday Mass. Only 120 people and 30 cardinals were physically present at the St. Peter’s Basilica, all of whom had palm leaves and booklets containing the Order of Mass. (Read: Vatican Releases Guidelines for Holy Week 2021)
For the rest of the Holy Week, papal liturgies will be at a limited physical capacity and will be live-streamed online. You may see below the Pope’s schedule from Holy Thursday until Easter Sunday:
- Holy Thursday, April 1: The Pope will preside over the Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, will preside over the Vatican’s Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
- Good Friday, April 2: Pope Francis will offer the papal liturgy of the Passion of the Lord at 6 PM and the Stations of the Cross at 9 PM. Both celebrations will be held in St. Peter’s Square.
- Black Saturday, April 3: The Pope will offer the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at 7:30 PM.
- Easture Sunday, April 4: Pope Francis will celebrate the Easter Sunday Mass at 10 AM, followed by the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing.