Sunday, March 25, 2018


On a beautiful Roman sun washed Passion/Palm Sunday, the faithful who gather with Pope Francis are markedly smaller in number compared to other pontificates and even previous years of the current pontificate for a Palm Sunday.

What does this mean? Is the Church of Rome going the way of the Church of England experiencing the same dismal results?

The Pope is wearing nicer vestments than usual, including the matching cope for the procession of palms.

At the end of the Mass as the Holy Father kisses the altar, you will note that His Holiness sees a particle of the Most Blessed Sacrament remaining on the altar. His Holiness wets finger to pick the Body of Christ from the altar and consumes it. This is worth noting. 

At the beginning of the video, you can see that the back part of St. Peter's Square is empty and not all the chairs are filled.  It is a bit shocking to me to see this: 

Pope Palm Sunday Mass: Sing out loud "Hosanna"

Reflecting on the Liturgy of Palm Sunday, Pope Francis contrasted the joy of the people who celebrated Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem with the cries of those who want to silence him.
By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

Pope Francis invites us all to see ourselves in the Palm Sunday liturgy. He says that the liturgy “expresses the contradictory feelings that we too, … experience”: love and hatred, self-sacrifice and “washing our hands”, loyalty and betrayal.

Sounds of joy

The Pope says that we can imagine that among those in the crowd who sang and shouted as Jesus entered Jerusalem would have been such people as the prodigal son, the healed leper, “those who had followed Jesus because they felt his compassion for their pain and misery.” Their “outcry is the song and the spontaneous joy of all those left behind and overlooked, who, having been touched by Jesus, can now shout: ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” These people cannot but help to praise the person responsible for restoring their dignity and their hope, making it possible for them to trust again, the Pope says.

Joy suppressed

But there is another group present as well. The joy of those who have been touched by God’s mercy is unbearable and intolerable for others Pope Francis points out. “How hard it is for the comfortable and the self-righteous to understand the joy and the celebration of God’s mercy!”

This prompts another kind of shouting, Pope Francis observes. It comes from those wishing to “twist reality,” “invent stories,” “gain power,” “silence dissonant voices,” “spin facts,” defend themselves, and discredit the defenseless. In the end, “they disfigure the face of Jesus and turn him into a ‘criminal,’ ” Pope Francis says.

“And so the celebration of the people ends up being stifled. Hope is demolished, dreams are killed, joy is suppressed; the heart is shielded and charity grows cold.”

The joy of the young

The conclusion of Pope Francis’ homily was directed to the young. He pleaded with them not to succumb to the attempts of their elders to silence them.

“Dear young people, the joy that Jesus awakens in you is a source of anger and irritation to some, since a joyful young person is hard to manipulate,” he says.

Pope Francis recalls the words of Jesus to the Pharisees who wanted to silence his disciples. To “Teacher, rebuke your disciples,” Jesus replied, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out” (Lk 19:39-40).

Pope Francis begs young people to choose to sing Hosanna and not to keep quiet: “Please, make that choice, before the stones themselves cry out.”


John Nolan said...

Palm Sunday from St Peter's Square is, for some reason, not a liturgical high point. For starters, it's in Italian (why?) and the Passion is simply read rather than sung.

ByzRC said...

As usual, I agree with John. Not being celebrated a local Roman parish and for the benefit of the international component of the laity; a Papal mass, particularly at the Vatican, should represent the universal Church relying on her universal language for the common parts.

John Nolan said...

Even the Creed was simply mumbled in Italian, presumably to make way for the polyglot bidding prayers and the lengthy Offertory procession.

Ironically, I could follow the Italian, only because I am familiar with Latin. However, had I been in Rome yesterday I would have given this service a miss. Ss Trinita dei Pellegrini isn't too far away.

TJM said...

I felt excluded by this Liturgy. Isn't that the antithesis of what Pope Francis claims he is all about?