Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Cdl. Bergoglio's Palm Sunday Homily

One of my fave Cardinals, His Eminence Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, SJ has just had his Palm Sunday homily released. Translation is mine as are emphases and comments.


At the start, in the blessing of the palms, we heard the Gospel narrative of when Jesus enters the city, enters Jerusalem. The crowds go to receive him. They had much love for the Lord. The people go to receive him because He enters triumphantly but also with humility. The feasting is done by the crowd, He does not organize it. This is proper to Jesus: He never organizes a feast for Himself. He goes. He enters houses, enters towns, and enters cities and it is the crowd that seeks Him out, with rejoicing. Out there, people who did not know they would see Him, encounter Him along the way and then and there they rejoice and laud him. And on a day like this, when the Pharisees tell Him to make the little ones -- and the big ones, too -- stop chanting "blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna," He tells them: "Look, if they shut up, then the stones would yell." The Lord was like that: simple, humble and He provoked joy, enthusiasm, peace of heart.
Today we have wanted to, as Christians, do something similar. Not just the ceremony here but also that Jesus symbolically entered the city -- one column processing from Once, another from Liniers, came into the city on those trucks you see there -- on His colt, and the crowd stood up, the crowd greeted and the crowd asked for blessings. The blessing of the Lord. Jesus goes out to meet people, instead of waiting for people to come looking for Him. He goes out to be encountered. Today is the day Jesus goes to be met and He enters the city. Many Christians today have also gone out, in the name of Jesus, to meet the sick in the hospitals[, etc.]...the Church spills into the street because today Jesus is the king of the street, as He was that Palm Sunday in Jerusalem. The place to worship Jesus on this day, more than a temple, is the street. There he was acclaimed, there He was blessed, there He was recognized as the Lord. Out in the street. Later, on Friday, in the corridors of power, among the groups of influence, He was bought and sold [i.e., His fate was debated and decided] H.E. may have been making a reference to the rather Christian-unfriendly attitudes and policies of the Argentine government. But where the people are faithful, where the people are believing, out in the street, He was acclaimed.
Today, here in Buenos Aires, like in Jerusalem on that day, the street made way for Jesus. The street received Him properly. The crowd stood, begged for blessings, blessings for their families, blessings for their businesses, their houses, their autos...H.E. is making a wry reference to the fact Argentines are notoriously car-crazy. Blessing, what does that [really] mean? [It means] that Jesus "speak well" of something, that He approach! That He enter families, hearts, homes, autos, businesses...Jesus out in the street, interacting with the crowd...There. His desire is, just as the gates of the city were opened to Him, the same is done with the doors to our hearts. Every Holy Week He asks the same thing: "Open your heart to Me. I'm not here to mortify you! I'm not here to boss you around! I'm not here to take anything from you...I'm here to give you everything. I want to make you happy." That's what He's telling us. If we slam the doors to our hearts in His face, He suffers. Although He is used to it, He suffers. And we lose the opportunity to become happy.
We say that today the Church has spilled out into the street, to imitate that Palm Sunday, but also to affirm that today, in a special way and by extension, the place for Christ is out in the street. The Gospels tell us He would go to the temple, that He would go to the synagogue, but they also tell us he was on the roads, in the cities, in the streets. Today the place for Christ is the street; the place for the Christian is the street. The Lord wants us like Him: with an open heart, roaming the streets of Buenos Aires. He wants us walking the streets of Buenos Aires and carrying His message! Like Him, on the road and on the street. He doesn't want us hoarding His word just for ourselves, locked inside our own hearts, our own house, or in the temple, instead that we spill His word on the street. He wants us walking out on the street. H.E. uses a rather, er, colloquial slang term for this, by the way.
We look to Jesus, Whom we welcomed today into the city and Whom we'll accompany during this whole week, until His glorious resurrection, and we ask Him: Jesus, show me [how] to open my heart. Jesus, send Your Holy Spirit to open my heart. Send Your Holy Spirit to this city that it may open its streets, its homes, its families. Jesus, teach me to go out on the street and shout like those, on that day in Jerusalem: Blessed are You who come to save us in the name of God. May it be thus.


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