Sunday, April 9, 2006

The Truly Great "Yes"--Pope on Palm Sunday

From Asia News Italy:

The Cross, a sign of contradiction and of life, was at the heart of the pope’s homily, given after the dramatic account of the Passion by the evangelist Mark. Benedict XVI said: “There was a time, and it is still not entirely over, when Christianity was rejected precisely because of the Cross. The Cross talked about sacrifice, it was said, the Cross is a sign of denial of life. We, on the other hand, want life without restrictions and without renunciation. We want to live, nothing more than to live. Don’t let’s be limited by precepts and bans: we want richness and fullness – this is what was said and is still being said. All this sounds convincing and seductive, it is the language of the serpent, who tells us: ‘Don’t let yourselves be afraid! Eat serenely from all the trees in the garden!’ Palm Sunday, however, tells us that the truly great ‘Yes’ is precisely the Cross, that the Cross is the true tree of life. We are not alive to become masters of life, but to give it. Love is a giving of self, and this is why it is the way of true life, symbolized by the Cross.”

The Cross is “the road”, the “way” along which Jesus wants to lead us, a royal way at odds with the mentality of the world. Meditating on the episode of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, astride a donkey, Benedict XVI said: “Jesus entered the Holy City riding a donkey, that is, the animal of simple peasants, and what’s more, a donkey that did not belong to him, but one He borrowed for the occasion. He does not turn up in an opulent, royal carriage, or astride a horse, like the world’s great men, but on a borrowed donkey.”

Thus, in him is fulfilled the promise made by the prophets of Israel, the “king of the poor”, the king of peace”, the king “of universality”. Even these terms contradict the prevailing overstated mentality.