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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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 June 27 2019
16:1-12, 15-16
Thought of the day
    June 27 2019 Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 374 Reading 1 GN 16:1-12, 15-16 Abram's wife Sarai had borne him no children. She had, however, an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram: "The LORD has kept me from bearing children. Have intercourse, then, with my maid; perhaps I shall have sons through her." Abram heeded Sarai's request. Thus, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, his wife Sarai took her maid, Hagar the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his concubine. He had intercourse with her, and she became pregnant. When she became aware of her pregnancy, she looked on her mistress with disdain. So Sarai said to Abram: "You are responsible for this outrage against me. I myself gave my maid to your embrace; but ever since she became aware of her pregnancy, she has been looking on me with disdain. May the LORD decide between you and me!" Abram told Sarai: "Your maid is in your power. Do to her whatever you please." Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her. The LORD's messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness, the spring on the road to Shur, and he asked, "Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She answered, "I am running away from my mistress, Sarai." But the LORD's messenger told her: "Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment. I will make your descendants so numerous," added the LORD's messenger, "that they will be too many to count. Besides," the LORD's messenger said to her: "You are now pregnant and shall bear a son; you shall name him Ishmael, For the LORD has heard you, God has answered you. This one shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against everyone, and everyone's hand against him; In opposition to all his kin shall he encamp." Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael. Or GN 16:6B-12, 15-16 Abram told Sarai: "Your maid is in your power. Do to her whatever you please." Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her. The LORD's messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness, the spring on the road to Shur, and he asked, "Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She answered, "I am running away from my mistress, Sarai." But the LORD's messenger told her: "Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment. I will make your descendants so numerous," added the LORD's messenger, "that they will be too many to count. Besides," the LORD's messenger said to her: "You are now pregnant and shall bear a son; you shall name him Ishmael, For the LORD has heard you, God has answered you. This one shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against everyone, and everyone's hand against him; In opposition to all his kin shall he encamp." Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael. Responsorial Psalm PS 106:1B-2, 3-4A, 4B-5 R. (1b) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. or: R. Alleluia. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. Who can tell the mighty deeds of the LORD, or proclaim all his praises? R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. or: R. Alleluia. Blessed are they who observe what is right, who do always what is just. Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people. R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. or: R. Alleluia. Visit me with your saving help, that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones, rejoice in the joy of your people, and glory with your inheritance. R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. or: R. Alleluia. Alleluia JN 14:23 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him and we will come to him. R. Alleluia, alleluia. Gospel MT 7:21-29 Jesus said to his disciples: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?' Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.' "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined." When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
     
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