Palm Sunday

Lots of cool pix of celebrations around the world here. Equally cool papal liturgy pix here (tossed throughout the post). The Pope's homily is here --I love the way B16 always puts scripture in context --so much of the Old Testament world is unknown to us, but we miss the full significance of the New Testament and of our own rites without it:
the beginning of the procession on the outskirts of Jerusalem is composed in part on the model of the rite of coronation with which, according to the First Book of Kings, Solomon was made heir to David's kingship (cf. 1 Kings 1:33-35).
Thus the procession of palms is also a procession of Christ the King: We profess the kingship of Jesus Christ, we recognize Jesus as son of David, the true Solomon -- the King of peace and justice.
This leads to a discussion of true discipleship --to say Christ is "king" is to be ready to follow him where he leads:
It demands that I give myself freely to an Other -- for truth, for love, for God who, in Jesus Christ, precedes me and points out the way. What we are talking about here is the fundamental decision to no longer consider utility and gain, career and success as the ultimate goal of life, but to recognize truth and love instead as the authentic criteria. We are talking about the choice between living for myself and giving myself -- for what is greater. And let us understand that truth and love are not abstract values; in Jesus Christ they have become a person. Following him, I enter into the service of truth and love. Losing myself, I find myself.
What he says about the Psalm of the day is lovely, too. It closes with this:

Psalm 24 that speaks of the ascent ends with an entrance liturgy before the temple gate: "Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter." In the old liturgy of Palm Sunday, the priest, once he arrived at the church doors, knocked loudly with the staff of the cross at the closed doors, which were then opened. It was a beautiful image of Jesus himself who, with the wood of the cross, with the power of his love which he gives, knocked from the side of the world on God's door; from the side of a world that was unable to find access to God.

With the cross, Jesus opens wide the door of God, the door between God and men. Now it is open. But also from the other side the Lord knocks with his cross: He knocks at the door of the world, at the doors of our hearts, which so often and in such great numbers are closed to God.

And he speaks to us more or less in this way: If the proofs that God gives of himself in creation do not succeed in opening you to him; if the word of Scripture and the message of the Church leave you indifferent -- then look at me, your Lord and your God.

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