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'Cry out,' pope tells young people at Palm Sunday Mass Mar 26, 2018 by Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service Vatican

 

 

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VATICAN CITY — Celebrating Palm Sunday Mass with thousands of young people, Pope Francis urged them to continue singing and shouting "hosanna" in the world, proclaiming the lordship of Jesus and following his example of outreach to the poor and suffering.

The crowd that shouted "hosanna" as Jesus entered Jerusalem included all those for whom Jesus was a source of joy, those he healed and forgave, and those he welcomed after they had been excluded from society, the pope said in his homily March 25.

But others were irritated by Jesus and tried to silence his followers, the pope said. In the same way, people today will try to silence young people who continue to follow Jesus, because "a joyful young person is hard to manipulate."

"There are many ways to silence young people and make them invisible," the pope said. There are "many ways to anesthetize them, to make them keep quiet, ask nothing, question nothing. There are many ways to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive."

Pope Francis asked the young people "not to keep quiet. Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out?"

Gabriella Zuniga, 16, and her sister Valentina Zuniga, 15, were among the thousands in St. Peter's Square. The sisters, students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, had participated March 24 in the local Rome "March for Our Lives," calling for gun control.The Palm Sunday Mass marked the local celebration of World Youth Day and included the more than 300 young adults who, at the Vatican's invitation, had spent a week discussing the hopes, desires and challenges facing the world's young people and ways the Catholic Church should respond.

At the end of the Mass, they formally presented their final document to the pope; it will be used, along with input from the world's bishops' conferences, in drafting the working document for the Synod of Bishops in October, which will focus on young people, faith and vocational discernment.

Holding five-foot tall palm branches, the young adults led the procession to the obelisk in the center of St. Peter's Square. They were joined by others carrying olive branches and by bishops and cardinals holding "palmurelli," which are intricately woven palm fronds.

In his homily, Pope Francis said that the Palm Sunday Mass, which begins with the singing of "hosanna" and then moves to the reading of Jesus' passion, combines "stories of joy and suffering, mistakes and successes, which are part of our daily lives as disciples."

The acclamation of the crowd praising Jesus as he enters Jerusalem gives way to the shouts of "crucify him" as Jesus' suffering and death draw near, the pope noted. "It somehow expresses the contradictory feelings that we too, the men and women of today, experience: the capacity for great love, but also for great hatred; the capacity for courageous self-sacrifice, but also the ability to 'wash our hands.' "

The Gospel also demonstrates how the joy Jesus awakened in some is "a source of anger and irritation for others," Pope Francis said, and the same is true today.

Joy is seen in all those "who had followed Jesus because they felt his compassion for their pain and misery," the pope said. "How could they not praise the one who had restored their dignity and hope? Theirs is the joy of so many forgiven sinners who are able to trust and hope once again."

But others in Jerusalem, "those who consider themselves righteous and 'faithful' to the law and its ritual precepts" and "those who have forgotten the many chances they themselves had been given" find such joy intolerable, the pope said.

"How hard it is for the comfortable and the self-righteous to understand the joy and the celebration of God's mercy," he said. "How hard it is for those who trust only in themselves, and look down on others, to share in this joy."

The shouts of "crucify him" did not begin spontaneously, the pope said, but were incited by those who slandered and gave false witness against Jesus, " 'spinning' facts and painting them such that they disfigure the face of Jesus and turn him into a 'criminal.' "

Theirs, he said, was "the voice of those who twist reality and invent stories for their own benefit, without concern for the good name of others" and "the cry of those who have no problem in seeking ways to gain power and to silence dissonant voices."

Pope Francis told the young people gathered in the square that in the face of such attempts to demolish hope, kill dreams and suppress joy, Christians must look to Christ's cross and "let ourselves be challenged by his final cry. He died crying out his love for each of us: young and old, saints and sinners, the people of his times and of our own."

"We have been saved by his cross, and no one can repress the joy of the Gospel," he said. "No one, in any situation whatsoever, is far from the Father's merciful gaze."

 
 
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Daily Readings
 April 24th, 2019
Wednesday in the Octave of Easter
Thought of the day
    April 24th, 2019 Wednesday in the Octave of Easter Lectionary: 263 Reading 1 ACTS 3:1-10 Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o’clock hour of prayer. And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.” Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong. He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him. Responsorial Psalm PS 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9 R.(3b) Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name; make known among the nations his deeds. Sing to him, sing his praise, proclaim all his wondrous deeds. R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD! Look to the LORD in his strength; seek to serve him constantly. R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. You descendants of Abraham, his servants, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones! He, the LORD, is our God; throughout the earth his judgments prevail. R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. He remembers forever his covenant which he made binding for a thousand generationsB Which he entered into with Abraham and by his oath to Isaac. R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. Alleluia PS 118:24 R. Alleluia, alleluia. This is the day the LORD has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it. R. Alleluia, alleluia. Gospel LK 24:13-35 That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his Body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
     
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