Cardinal Wuerl Celebrates Palm Sunday Mass, Marking the Start of Holy Week

Sunday, April 13, 2014

HYATTSVILLE, Md. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, marked the start of Holy Week by blessing palm branches on Palm Sunday in memory of Christ’s triumphant journey into Jerusalem. The cardinal celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle following the blessing of the palms.

“Palm Sunday is the story of the welcoming of Jesus and the recognition of who he is and what is the kingdom he comes to establish,” Cardinal Wuerl stated in his homily. “We can, over and over again, strengthen our own personal faith by realizing that it is Jesus who comes into our life, the Lord, God with us. Our challenge is to avoid allowing our limited vision and expectations to fashion for ourselves our own Jesus in place of him ‘who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

“Jesus has come to establish his kingdom. He began his ministry with the declaration, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand.’ Throughout his ministry, over and over again, he announced that it is his kingdom that he is trying to realize in our world,” Cardinal Wuerl continued. “The Passion narrative today calls us to remember that the kingdom Jesus came to establish is not one of politics, economics or military might. It is a kingdom of the Spirit, a realm of truth, justice, peace and love,” said the cardinal.

In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl discussed how the kingship of Christ has been challenged in a variety of ways since the crucifixion, when Pilate asserted that his authority over man was superior. He explained how each successive generation has to make the choice between the spiritual reality of God’s grace and the options that the world presents. “In the work of building up his kingdom, which in its fullness only comes with God in glory, Christ our King calls his disciples to help him,” the cardinal said. “The kingship of Christ today continues to need workers and witnesses to try to manifest the realm of God, especially in the face of earthly powers that would seek to ignore the place of God in our lives and our world.”

“In his Apostolic Exhortation – Evangelii Gaudium – The Joy of the Gospel – Pope Francis presents for us the same message. It falls to us to bring the Gospel to life in our days. It is our joy and challenge to make present God’s love and mercy – in our actions of loving kindness and forgiveness. We must never forget that all of us do have the power to make a difference. We can change the world for the better,” the cardinal continued.

The Cardinal concluded his homily by calling on the faithful to recognize the importance of each individual in God’s plan to bring about a world of peace and love, truth and justice. “Let us simply renew in our hearts the commitment that the Church asks of us: Lord I will do my best to strengthen and renew my faith, so that in lively confidence in your Word, your truth, your kingdom, I can share it with others,” he said.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 96 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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