Pope Benedict XVI's Palm Sunday Proclamation: With the Lord to the Heights
Let us show the Lord that we desire to be righteous, and let us ask him: Draw us upwards! Make us pure!
Pope Benedict XVI led thousands of pilgrims who gathered with him in St Peters Square on Palm Sunday in procession. The Procession and the Liturgy of Passion Sunday leads all of us into the Great and Holy Week. We have an extraordinary teacher seated in the Chair of Peter. We present for our global readers and viewers this magnificent call from the Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ for deep reflection as the Christian Holy Week unfolds before us. We can enter more deeply into the mystery of our faith.
The crowds gathered in St Peter's square on Passion/Palm Sunday with Pope Benedict XVI to enter into the Great and Holy Week
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - On Sunday I joined our beloved Priest in the Procession leading the faithful waving Palm branches into the Sanctuary. There, I had the privilege of participating in the reading of the Passion narrative. Every year, the experience becomes more profound. As we progress through Holy Week, the Scripture passages proclaimed at the Liturgies present us with the very real people whom Jesus chose to follow Him in the Redemptive work he was to accomplish on the tree at Calvary. One such "living stone" is the Apostle named Peter. An often-impetuous man, his zeal was forged into holy courage as he followed the One whose salvific love - in the face of every opposition - would save the world. So it is meant to be with each one of us.
Peter's denial should become a source of strength for us during this Holy Week. We too deny the Lord. Every time we fail to live what we profess, every time we treat persons as objects to be used rather than gifts to be received; every time we fall back into patterns of sin, wrong choices, and justify them in any way. we should hear that cockcrow in the distance and, most importantly, we should follow Peters example and repent. Peter not only found the freedom which comes from living in the Light, he cooperated with grace and was transformed into a Rock upon which the Lord would build His Church.
Pope Benedict XVI led thousands of pilgrims who gathered with him in St Peters Square on Palm Sunday in procession. The Procession and the Liturgy of Passion Sunday leads all of us into the Great and Holy Week. We have an extraordinary teacher seated in the Chair of Peter. We present for our global readers and viewers this magnificent call from the Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ for deep reflection as the Christian Holy Week unfolds before us. We are invited to enter more deeply into the mystery of our faith.
Pope Benedict XVI: We Are on Pilgrimage with the Lord to the Heights
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Dear young people!
It is a moving experience each year on Palm Sunday as we go up the mountain with Jesus, towards the Temple, accompanying him on his ascent. On this day, throughout the world and across the centuries, young people and people of every age acclaim him, crying out: "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
But what are we really doing when we join this procession as part of the throng which went up with Jesus to Jerusalem and hailed him as King of Israel? Is this anything more than a ritual, a quaint custom? Does it have anything to do with the reality of our life and our world? To answer this, we must first be clear about what Jesus himself wished to do and actually did. After Peter's confession of faith in Caesarea Philippi, in the northernmost part of the Holy Land, Jesus set out as a pilgrim towards Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. He was journeying towards the Temple in the Holy City, towards that place which for Israel ensured in a particular way God's closeness to his people.
He was making his way towards the common feast of Passover, the memorial of Israel's liberation from Egypt and the sign of its hope of definitive liberation. He knew that what awaited him was a new Passover and that he himself would take the place of the sacrificial lambs by offering himself on the cross. He knew that in the mysterious gifts of bread and wine he would give himself for ever to his own, and that he would open to them the door to a new path of liberation, to fellowship with the living God. He was making his way to the heights of the Cross, to the moment of self-giving love. The ultimate goal of his pilgrimage was the heights of God himself; to those heights he wanted to lift every human being.
Our procession today is meant, then, to be an image of something deeper, to reflect the fact that, together with Jesus, we are setting out on pilgrimage along the high road that leads to the living God. This is the ascent that matters. This is the journey which Jesus invites us to make. But how can we keep pace with this ascent? Isn't it beyond our ability? Certainly, it is beyond our own possibilities. From the beginning men and women have been filled - and this is as true today as ever - with a desire to "be like God", to attain the heights of God by their own powers.
All the inventions of the human spirit are ultimately an effort to gain wings so as to rise to the heights of Being and to become independent, completely free, as God is free. Mankind has managed to accomplish so many things: we can fly! We can see, hear and speak to one another from the farthest ends of the earth. And yet the force of gravity which draws us down is powerful. With the increase of our abilities there has been an increase not only of good. Our possibilities for evil have increased and appear like ...
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