Starting from amazement, looking at the crucified: This is what Pope Francis encouraged in his sermon on Palm Sunday Mass, which commemorates the entry of the Lord Jesus to Jerusalem. Let yourself be surprised by Jesus, as the Holy Father says, to “live again,” because the greatness of life does not lie in possessing or affirming yourself, but in discovering yourself loved by God.
On this day, “Let us ask for a blessing of astonishment.” This was a call from Pope Francis in his sermon at the Mass to commemorate the entry of the Lord Jesus into Jerusalem, Palm Sunday. In the liturgy of today, the Pope began by saying: “Every year, he raises a feeling of surprise in us,” because “we move from the joy of receiving Jesus who enters Jerusalem, to the pain of seeing him doomed to death.” It is a feeling that “will accompany us throughout the Holy Week”.
It is essential to move from admiration to amazement
Recalling that Jesus entered Jerusalem, on the back of a humble donkey, while people earnestly awaited Easter for the “mighty redeemer” and celebrated the victory over the Romans with the “sword”, Francis asked a question: “What happened to these people, who in a few days turned from welcoming Jesus so lovingly? To their shouting, “Crucify him”? “He explained:
In fact, these people followed the image of Christ more than the true Messiah. They admired Jesus, but did not want to be surprised, as amazement is different from mere admiration. Admiration can be mundane, because it searches for the tastes and expectations of each one; Instead, wonder remains open to the other, to their novelty.
The Pope noted that today there are also many who admire Jesus, but nevertheless “their lives do not change.” This is because “admiring Jesus is not enough,” but it is necessary to “follow his path, allow himself to be doubted, and move from admiration to surprise.” What is most surprising about the Lord and Easter, as the Supreme Pontiff asserts, is “the fact that he attains glory through the path of humiliation.”
He triumphs by welcoming the pain and death which we avoid pawns of admiration and success. […] It is amazing to see God Almighty reduced to nothing. See him, the Word that knows everything, we learned silently from the Chair of the Cross. Look at the king of kings whose throne is gallows. See the god of the universe devoid of everything. See him crowned with thorns, not with glory. Seeing him, the good in his person, is being insulted and trampled.
Jesus ascended on the cross to descend to our sufferings
The humility of the Lord himself For us, “touching our most intimate human reality, to fully experience our existence, all of our evils,” Francisco explained. The cross ascended to our suffering, and experienced our worst mental states: failure, rejection by everyone, betrayal of those who love Him, and even abandonment of God. After experiencing the most painful contradictions in his body, he fixed and transformed them:
His love is close to our fragility, he reaches what we feel most ashamed of. And now we know that we are not alone. God is with us in every wound and every fear. No evil, no sin has the last word. God wins, but the palm of victory passes through the Tree of the Cross. This is why the palms and the cross come together.
Let us raise our eyes to the cross
The Pope said that the Christian life “without wonder is monotonous,” because if “faith loses its ability to surprise itself, then it remains deaf”: he does not feel the miracle of grace, does not experience the taste of the bread of life and the word, does not realize the beauty of brotherhood and the gift of creation, and has no way Other than resorting to mosquito nets, the clergy, and all those things that Jesus condemns in Matthew chapter 23. Hence the invitation of the Holy Father that, in this holy week, “we raise our eyes to the cross in order to obtain the grace of astonishment.”
Saint Francis of Assisi, looking at the crucified, was amazed that his brothers did not weep. Are we still able to allow ourselves to move in the love of God? Why have we lost the ability to inquire about it? Perhaps because our faith has been eroded by habit. Maybe it’s because we remain locked in our regrets and allow ourselves to be lifted from our frustrations. Maybe because we have lost faith in everything and even think we are failures. But behind all this “maybe” is the fact that we have not opened ourselves to the gift of the Spirit, which gives us the grace of astonishment.
Being open to the gift of the Spirit that gives us the grace of amazement and “starting from amazement” is therefore the Holy Father’s advice: Look at the crucified and say to him, “Lord, how much you love me! How valuable I am to you!” To be surprised by Jesus, to live again, because greatness Life is not about owning or affirming yourself, but about discovering yourself loved. ” “The greatness of life is precisely the beauty of love.”
In the crucified one we see God in submission, and God Almighty has been reduced to spoil. With grace of astonishment, we understand that by welcoming those who have been neglected, and getting closer to those humiliated by life, we love Jesus. Because in the end, in the rejected, in those whom our Pharisaic culture condemns.
Before the cross there is no place for misinterpretation
The pontiff concluded his sermon by referring to a scene “more beautiful” than the astonishment that today’s Gospel shows us: the scene of the centurion who, upon seeing Jesus die, exclaims: “Truly this man was the Son of God!” The Pope said that the centurion was astonished with love: he saw Jesus die “in love” and astonished him. He hurt, it was tired, but he still loved.
This is astonishment before God who knows how to fill to death with love. In this free and unprecedented love, the pagan centurion meets God. This man was truly the Son of God! His phrase confirms the pain.
Many others before the centurion confessed that Jesus was the Son of God. But, nevertheless, “Christ himself commanded them to remain silent, because there was a danger of remaining in worldly admiration, in the idea of a God who should be worshiped and feared as powerful and fearful.” Now, in front of the cross, “there is no room for misinterpretations,” because “God has revealed himself and is only possessed by the power of unarmed love.” Hence the last commandment of the Supreme Pontiff, who made us present that God “continues to surprise our minds and hearts,” encouraging us to let “surprise invade us”: