The Associated Press reported that Pope Francis gave a homily focusing on Palm Sunday in a packed Saint Peter’s Square. Our Holy Father called on people to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives. “Where is my heart?” the Pope asked, focusing on that as the “… question which accompanies us” throughout Holy Week. He asked, ”Has my life fallen asleep?” after listening to a gospel account of how Jesus’ disciples fell asleep shortly before he was betrayed by Judas. He also asked, “Am I like Pontius Pilate, who, when he sees the situation is difficult, washes his hands?” He challenged the people to answer the call of discipleship which we know is at times not easy to do. At other opportunities to address the faithful, he encouraged people to be young at heart. He also encouraged the faithful to reach out to the poor, the forgotten, and others who do not seem to matter in the eyes of the world.
Pope Francis has also focused on the need for conversion and spiritual renewal. He has stressed the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. During another Lenten address, he said that conversion is a lifetime commitment and urge the faithful to frequently avail themselves of the Sacrament. We are challenged to acknowledge our sinfulness, rather than rationalize or excuse it. We can then turn to the Lord and ask for his pardon, mercy, and forgiveness. Last year, at a Penance Service, the Pope humbly asked another priest to hear his confession. He once again set a good example for his flock.
As we reflect on the words and actions of Pope Francis, we are reminded that this upcoming week is the holiest week in the Church year. It is a special time; it is an important time spiritually. We are invited to make the most of this time. We are invited to reflect on that question of Our Holy Father, “Where is my heart?”, and then participate in our upcoming liturgical services and act in a way that enhances our spiritual integrity.
Please carefully review the schedule of our Masses and our other liturgical services for the week and plan to participate to the extent possible. Details can be found in the Parish bulletin and on the Parish website.
Today, as we celebrate and experience the joy of Palm Sunday, as we shout “Hosanna”, we are challenged to heed the example of Our Holy Father and humbly serve others and strive to embrace a spirit of conversion and renewal as we continue and persevere on our Lenten journey of faith.