In his homily at Palm Sunday Mass, Pope Francis compared Jesus’ sufferings in his Passion to the treatment of outcasts, asylum-seekers and refugees in our own day, saying that Pontius Pilate exhibited the same sort of indifference that migrants face today.
The readings of the day emphasize Jesus’ radical humility, Francis said, who lived among us in “the condition of a servant” rather than that of a king or a prince, and the abyss of his humiliation “seems to be bottomless.”
He bent down to wash the feet of his disciples, laying aside his role as “Lord and Master” and preferring the position of a servant. He is “sold for thirty pieces of silver and betrayed by the kiss of a disciple whom he had chosen and called his friend.” His friends flee and abandon him, and “Peter denies him three times in the courtyard of the temple,” Francis reminded the tens of thousands of faithful gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for the Mass.
The Pope said that Jesus experiences shame and disgraceful condemnation by religious and political authorities, being shuffled around as nobody’s problem. “Pilate then sends him to Herod, who in turn sends him to the Roman governor,” Francis said, and “even as every form of justice is denied to him, Jesus also experiences in his own flesh indifference, since no one wishes to take responsibility for his fate.”
It was the Roman procurator Pilate, in fact, who famously washed his hands in full view of the crowds, refusing to be held accountable for the fate of Jesus. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
“And I think of the many people, so many outcasts, so many asylum seekers, so many refugees, all of those for whose fate no one wishes to take responsibility,” he said.
The crowds are very fickle, Francis continued, and those who acclaimed him on Palm Sunday change their praise “into a cry of accusation” on Good Friday, even to the point of preferring that a murderer be released in his place.
“To be totally in solidarity with us,” the Pope said, “he also experiences on the Cross the mysterious abandonment of the Father. In his abandonment, however, he prays and entrusts himself: ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’”
Jesus refuses to react with force, however, but instead “reveals the true face of God, which is mercy,” Francis said.
“He forgives those who are crucifying him, he opens the gates of paradise to the repentant thief and he touches the heart of the centurion,” he said. Jesus pours himself out; he “takes upon himself all our pain that he may redeem it, bringing light to darkness, life to death, love to hatred.”
By humbling himself, “Jesus invites us to walk on his path,” Francis concluded. “Let us turn our faces to him, let us ask for the grace to understand at least something of the mystery of his obliteration for our sake.”
Listen to the audio of Dr. Williams discussing this on Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125 this morning:
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