July 1, 2014. The Council of Cardinals began their fifth meeting with the Pope at the Vatican. Starting today at Casa Santa Marta, it will end on Friday, July 4. The previous meetings were from 1 to 3 October 2013, 3 -5 December 2013, from 17 to 19 February 2014 and 28 to 30 April 2014.
With thousands of palm and olive branches surrounding St. Peter's Square, Holy Week began with this procession. Then Pope Francis joined in making his way through the Square with his palm branch.
During his homily, he barely follow the prepared speech. He asked everyone a very direct question about what Holy Week means to them.
"Am I able to express my joy, to praise Him? Or do I keep distant? Who am I, before Jesus Who suffers?”
Reflecting on the Passion of Jesus, the Pope went on to describe all the personalities in the Gospel reading, asking everyone to reflect on who they assimilate to the most- Is it Pilate, he asked? The condemning crowds or perhaps the Mother of Jesus and others who showed their fidelity?
"Am I like those crowds that didn't really know if they were in a religious gathering, a trial or a circus, so they decided to free a criminal- Barabbas over Jesus. For them it was all the same, because it was more fun to humiliate Jesus.”
Since the celebration commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the Pope asked everyone to reflect on their own lives and whether they've fallen asleep before Jesus' suffering.
Throughout Holy Week and beyond, he said all Christians should question where their heart is, and whom they resemble to the most in the Gospel reading that commemorates the Passion of Jesus.
More than 100,000 people attended Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican. Afterward, for more than an hour, he made made his way across the Square in the Popemobile, greeting pilgrims and taking pictures along the way.