Benedict XVI celebrates Palm Sunday with young people
That loving gaze upon the world
Being able to look at the world with God's eyes: for Christians this is the “great message” that Palm Sunday brings. Benedict XVI proposed it anew to thousands of the faithful – among whom were many young people who had come from various countries to celebrate the 27th World Youth Day – who took part in the Mass in St Peter's Square on the morning of 1 April. Recalling the cry of joy that welcomed Jesus on his entry to Jerusalem, the Pope pointed out its deep messianic meaning: “he whom the crowd acclaims as the blessed one”, the Holy Father explained, “is also he in whom the whole of humanity will be blessed”. From this comes the invitation to believers “to adopt a proper outlook upon all humanity, on the peoples who make up the world, on its different cultures and civilizations”. It is a gaze that must mirror “God’s own look upon those he loves and upon Creation”; hence, “a wise and loving look, capable of grasping the world’s beauty and having compassion on its fragility”.
Crucial to learning this attitude is the answer to the question which 2,000 years ago resonated in the hearts of all those who acclaimed Christ as the King of Israel: “Who is Jesus of Nazareth for us?”. It is “a crucial question, one we cannot avoid”, the Pope cautioned, and not least “because during this very week we are called to follow our King who chooses the Cross as his throne”. In expressing the wish “may Palm Sunday be a day of decision for you, the decision to say yes to the Lord and to follow him all the way”, just as it was 800 years ago for St Clare who, inspired by the example of St Francis, on the very day of Palm Sunday left everything to consecrate herself totally to the Lord. “She was eighteen years old”, the Pope said, “and she had the courage of faith and love to decide for Christ, finding in him true joy and peace”.
The Pontiff also called the young men and women to Christ's radical decision in his greetings in various languages at the prayer of the Angelus. His encouragement to the organizers of the next World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro was significant. He invited them to welcome “with open arms”, the youth who will travel from every part of the world to the Brazilian city.
The Pope also spoke of the Rio event this morning, Monday, 2 April, at his meeting with more than 5,000 youth from the Archdiocese of Madrid, where the world meeting was held last year. It will be, and this was the hope he expressed, “another milestone on the journey of the Church, ever young”.
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