Pope Francis made his way through St. Peter's Square to celebrate the first Palm Sunday Mass of his pontificate.
To mark the beginning of Holy Week, Pope Francis blessed palm and olive branches on the obelisk that stands before the square. It's a symbol that honors Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.
During his homily, Pope Francis focused on three points: Joy, the Cross and Youth. On the first point he said true joy comes from Jesus, not from possessions.
“Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy that comes from having many possessions, but from having encountered a Person: Jesus! Don't let your hope to be taken from you.”
Since Holy Week honors the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, the Pope went on to explain the second point of his homily: The Cross.
“I think of what Benedict XVI told cardinals: You are princes, but you are princes of a crucified King. This is the gift that Jesus gives to us all, on the throne of the Cross. The Cross of Christ embraces love. It never carries sadness, but rather joy. The same joy of salvation and of doing even just a small portion of what he did the day of His Crucifixion.”
For 28 years now, Palm Sunday also marks World Youth Day in Rome. So the Pope's third point, was quite fittingly: the youth. Pope Francis officially announced that he will be traveling to Brazil in late July to lead World Youth Day in Rio.
“Dear friends, I will walk along with you, and follow in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI. We are already close to the next stage of this great pilgrimage of Christ’s Cross. I look forward joyfully to next July in Rio de Janeiro! I will see you in that great city in Brazil! Prepare well – prepare spiritually above all in your communities, so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world.”
The Pope improvised quite a bit during his Homily and he told all the young people that their role in the Church is key. He also said that with Christ, the heart never grows old.
“Young people should tell the world that it is good, joyful to follow Jesus, to walk along with Him and believe in His message. It is good to go beyond one's limits and existence to teach others about Jesus. Three words: joy, cross and youth.”
Towards the end, the Pope celebrated the Angelus in Latin before roughly 250,000 people.
Source: Rome Reports
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