“Intrigues and slander lead to unscrupulous condemnation”

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Pope Francis during Palm Sunday

“Intrigues and slander lead to unscrupulous condemnation”

By Giacomo Galeazzi/ lastampa.it

The Pope on Palm Sunday, “How hard it is for the comfortable and the self-righteous to understand mercy. No more hatred”. No to those who try to “twist reality and invent stories for their own benefit, and silence dissonant voices”

“The cry of “save yourself” dulls our sense of solidarity” and “How hard it is for the comfortable and the self-righteous to understand the joy and the celebration of God’s mercy!”. Francis affirms in the solemn liturgical celebration of Palm Sunday and of the Lord's Passion, "How hard it is for those who trust only in themselves, and look down on others, to share in this joy". Meditations on the Holy Scriptures and concern for the condition of the marginalized and excluded of today are interwoven in the homily that the Pope dedicates mainly to the young, showing how up-to-date the Gospel message is: "We are capable of loving but also of hating so much".

The Pope, therefore, warns against "intrigues and slander that lead to unscrupulous condemnation" in order to "seek ways to gain power and to silence dissonant voices", while "the joy of mercy is difficult for those who feel superior" and how "the joy of the marginalized is a source of anger and irritation to some".

Having arrived in the centre of St. Peter's Square, at the foot of the obelisk, the Pope blesses the palms and olive trees before celebrating the Mass that opens Holy Week and which is attended by young people from Rome and other dioceses on the occasion of the diocesan feast of the XXXIII "World Youth Day". The celebration of the Palm trees, in fact, coincides with the WYD. "The temptation to silence young people has always existed - Jorge Mario Bergoglio says - The Pharisees themselves rebuke Jesus and ask him to silence them. There are many ways to silence young people and make them invisible - the Pope points out in his homily after the proclamation of the Passion of the Lord according to Matthew - Many ways to anesthetize them, to make them keep quiet, ask nothing, question nothing. There are many ways to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive".

Therefore, on Palm Sunday, celebrating World Youth Day on the theme "Do not fear Mary, because you have found grace with God", "it is good to listen to Jesus’ response to the Pharisees of past and present: “If these were silent, the very stones would cry out”.

So, Jorge Mario Bergoglio recommends, "dear young people, you have it in you to shout. It is up to you to opt for Sunday’s “Hosanna!”, so as not to fall into Friday’s “Crucify him!” It is up to you not to keep quiet. Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out? Please, make that choice, before the stones themselves cry out.

The Pope reflects on the Gospel of Sunday, "Looking at the cross means allowing our priorities, choices and actions to be challenged - he points out - It means questioning ourselves about our sensitivity to those experiencing difficulty. Where is our heart focused? Does Jesus Christ continue to be a source of joy and praise in our heart, or does its priorities and concerns make us ashamed to look at sinners, the least and forgotten?”.

Therefore, "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", Francis explains. "Jesus enters Jerusalem - he says - the liturgy invites us to share in the joy and celebration of the people who cry out in praise of their Lord; a joy that will fade and leaves a bitter and sorrowful taste by the end of the account of the Passion".

This celebration, according to Francis, "seems to combine stories of joy and suffering, mistakes and successes, which are part of our daily lives as disciples. It somehow expresses the contradictory feelings that we too, the men and women of today, experience: the capacity for great love… but also for great hatred; the capacity for courageous self-sacrifice, but also the ability to “wash our hands” at the right moment; the capacity for loyalty, but also for great abandonment and betrayal". And, the Pope adds, "We also see clearly throughout the Gospel account that the joy Jesus awakens is, for some, a source of anger and irritation".

In fact, "Jesus enters the city surrounded by his people and by a cacophony of singing and shouting. We can imagine that amid the outcry we hear the voice of the forgiven son, the healed leper, or the bleating of the lost sheep. Moreover, the Pope continues, it is “the song of the publican and the unclean man”, it is “the cry of those living on the edges of the city”, it is “the cry of those men and women who had followed Jesus because they felt his compassion for their pain and misery… That 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”. How could they not praise the one who had restored their dignity and hope? Theirs is the joy of so many forgiven sinners who are able to trust and hope once again”.

But, the Pope stresses, "All this joy and praise is a source of unease, scandal and upset for those who consider themselves righteous and “faithful” to the law and its ritual precepts”. A “joy unbearable for those hardened against pain, suffering and misery". It is a joy "intolerable for those who have forgotten the many chances they themselves had been given". Thus "another kind of shouting comes from, the fierce cry of those who shout out: “Crucify him!” It is not spontaneous but already armed with disparagement, slander and false witness”. It's the "voice of those who twist reality and invent stories for their own benefit, without concern for the good name of others". The cry of those who have no problem in seeking ways to gain power and to silence dissonant voices. The cry that comes from “spinning” facts and painting them such that they disfigure the face of Jesus and turn him into a “criminal”. It is the voice of those who want to defend their own position, especially by discrediting the defenceless".

It is “the cry born of the show of self-sufficiency, pride and arrogance, which sees no problem in shouting: “Crucify him, crucify him”. 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. It is cry of “save yourself”, which would dull our sense of solidarity, dampen our ideals, and blur our vision... the cry that wants to erase compassion”. Faced with all these shouting voices, "the best remedy is to look at Christ’s cross and let ourselves be challenged by his final cry. He died crying out his love for each of us: young and old, saints and sinners, the people of his times and of our own".

We have been saved by “his cross, and no one can repress the joy of the Gospel; no one, in any situation whatsoever, is far from the Father’s merciful gaze... But today, “a third kind of shouting is possible: “And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He replied, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out”

At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, before the apostolic blessing, the final draft of the presynodal meeting was delivered to Francis in preparation for the XV ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops scheduled for October 2018, on the theme: "Young people, faith and vocational discernment".

Palm Mass opens a Holy Week with young people in the foreground. Among the rites of Holy Week, is the Via Crucis at the Colosseo, on Friday, with texts written by a group of high school students from Rome. And today, after the traditional procession with palm trees and olive branches and Mass in a square packed full of young people, a group of them entrusted to the Pope the document drawn up in view of the Synod of Bishops in October. The document was handed over to the Pope by a young man from Panama in view of the WYD which will be heldinthe Central America's Country in January 2019.

"Today we cannot conceive of a young man or woman without a selfie", Jorge Mario Bergoglio comments after the embrace with the three hundred boys and girls of the pre-synod who have gathered around him to greet him at the conclusion of the Palm Mass. "Before concluding this celebration, I wish to greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims, who have taken part, especially the young people from different parts of the world and the 15,000 who have participated through the social networks. And, "thinking with gratitude of my recent trip to Peru", he addresses "with affection" a thought to the Peruvian community present in Italy. Finally, Francis guides the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"Today's World Youth Day, which takes place at diocesan level, is an important step on the path towards the Synod of Bishops on young people next October, as well as another step in preparation for the international WYD due to take place in Panama in January 2019 - the Pope says - this journey by the example and intercession of Mary, the young woman of Nazareth whom God chose as the Mother of his Son. She walks with us towards the Synod and towards the WYD in Panama. May Mary help us all to live Holy Week well. From her we learn inner silence, the gaze of our hearts, the loving faith to follow Jesus on the way of the Cross, which leads to the joyful light of Resurrection".

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 18:02
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