Passion Sunday

Note the new papal staff. People are saying this is the first time B16 hasn't used JPII's.

Quite the procession.

I wish we could use full fronds in our Passion Sunday processions.
Can't you picture the Triumphal Entry much better when you see these?

All photos taken from this slideshow. Unofficial translation of the Homily here (at post 12407). In reflecting on Christ's upsetting the tables of the money-changers, the Pope takes up again his theme from Spe Salvi --have we allowed materialism (in the philosophical sense) to invade the Church?
in a space meant for the encounter between God and man, he finds vendors of beasts and money changers plying their trade in the space for prayer.

Of course, the animals on sale were intended to be sacrificed by immolating them at the temple. And since coins bearing the likenesss of the Roman emperors who opposed the true God could not be used in the temple, money had to be changed into currency that did not bear these idolatrous images.

However, all these trading could be done elsewhere. The space where it was now taking place was intended to be the atrium for pagans. The God of Israel was, in fact, the one God of all peoples. So even if pagans do not enter, so to speak, within Revelation, they could still associate themselves with prayer to the one God in this atrium of faith.

The God of Israel, the God of all men, is always waiting for their prayers, their searching, their invocations. But now, the place was dominated by business - business which had been authorized by competent (temple) authorities who shared in the merchants' profits. The merchants behaved correctly according to the prevailing order, but it was the order itself that was corrupted.

"Greed is idolatry", says the Letter to the Colossians (cfr 3,5). This is the idolatry that Jesus encountered and before which he quoted Isaiah: "My house shall be a house of prayer' (Mt 21,13; cfr Is 56,7) and Jeremiah: "But you are making it a den of thieves" (Mt 21,13; cfr Jer 7,11). Against a badly misrepresented order, Jesus with his prophetic action, defended the true order found in the Law and the Prophets.

All this should make even us today think, as Christians: Is our faith pure and open enough so that from it, even 'pagans', persons who are in search and have questions, may catch intuitively the light of the one God, associate themselves in the atriums of faith to our prayers, and with their questions, become worshippers themselves?
I am fascinated by this idea that at least part of the Temple was for the pagans, too --that Christ was objecting not to necessary commerce (as if money by itself corrupted), but the abandonment of the pagans to their own devices by obscuring the beauty of God. I can't do justice in a short space to the whole of the text, but I like this line, too, reflecting on the fact that after throwing over the money-changers' tables, Christ heals the sick in the outer regions of the Temple:
Jesus countered the trade in animals and the affairs of the money changers with his healing goodness. This is the true purification of the temple.
I won't get into it, but along the lines of purification of our hearts, the Pope says:
In order to recognize God, we should abandon pride which blinds us, which would drive us away from God as if God were a rival.
God as rival: think about that! RTWT. At the same link there's also the text of this morning's Angelus. He spoke to young people celebrating World Youth Day and preparing for the big celebration in Sydney this summer, but he also pleaded for peace in Iraq in the wake of Archbisop Rahho's murder:
At the end of this solemn celebration, in which we meditated on the Passion of Christ, I wish to remember the lamented Archbishop of Mosul of the Chaledeans, Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, who tragically died recently.

His beautiful testimony of faithfulness to Christ, to the Church and his people, whom he did not abandon despite numerous threats, impels me to raise a strong and heartfelt cry: Enough of the killings, enough of violence, enough of hatred in Iraq!
I love this, and I think it makes explicit something the Holy Father has been saying all the while with respect to Iraq: that real peace will be something the Iraqis themselves make, and he absolutely begs them to do so.
Beloved Iraqis, lift up your heads and be yourselves the primary rebuilders of your national life! May reconciliation, forgiveness, justice and respect of civil coexistence among tribes, races, and religious groups be the fraternal and common way to peace in the name of God.