WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington marked the beginning of Holy Week today by blessing palms and celebrating Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington. Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, marks the beginning of the prayerful and solemn week for Christians around the world as they commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem before his death (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter Sunday).
Cardinal Wuerl began his homily by saying that during Holy Week, we liturgically and spiritually have an opportunity to make our way with Jesus through the events that culminate in our salvation. Each day of Holy Week is rich in elements that nurture our faith life. “The Passion narrative today calls us to remember that the kingdom that Jesus came to establish is not one of politics, economics, or military might. It’s a kingdom of the Spirit, it’s a realm of truth, justice, peace, and love,” said the cardinal. “The Kingdom of God is real, every bit as real as the one experienced by Jesus in his announcement of it. But for you and for me, the experience of the Kingdom of God begins first in our heart. It’s very different. It changes us – and the world – but from inside. The power of God’s kingdom is the strength of love. It is the power of forgiveness. It is the authority of compassion. It’s the ascendancy of kindness.”
“As remarkable as is the article of faith that Jesus came to initiate the Kingdom of God, it is equally remarkable that he turned it over to us to accomplish. That you and I are capable of realizing everything Jesus said he had come to do,” he said.
Cardinal Wuerl referenced Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), and said the Holy Father presents for us the same message, “He says to us, it falls to you and to me today to bring that Gospel to life…first in our lives, and then in our world. We must never forget that all of us have the power to make a difference.”
Earlier in the day, Cardinal Wuerl said in an interview about the significance of Palm Sunday and Holy Week, that in order to accomplish a better world, we need to start by looking inward and making small changes with ourselves first, and Holy Week is an opportunity or change.
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 655,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 93 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.