What strikes me most about this image posted at PrayTell is the predominance of women, perhaps as many as four generations represented. Contrast that with the images of popes at liturgy–nearly all surrounded by men. Fawning men. Here, the focus is on the liturgical act. On Christ, if you will. Not on the celebrity. Even Peter got that right, fussing about the act.
From a Palm Sunday homily in 2008 (also via PrayTell):
Jesus goes out to meet people, instead of waiting for people to come looking for Him. He goes out to be encountered. Today is the day Jesus goes to be met and He enters the city. Many Christians today have also gone out, in the name of Jesus, to meet the sick in the hospitals[, etc.]…the Church spills into the street because today Jesus is the king of the street, as He was that Palm Sunday in Jerusalem. The place to worship Jesus on this day, more than a temple, is the street. There he was acclaimed, there He was blessed, there He was recognized as the Lord. Out in the street. Later, on Friday, in the corridors of power, among the groups of influence, He was bought and sold [i.e.,
His fate was debated and decided] But where the people are faithful, where the people are believing, out in the street, He was acclaimed.
I think we have a pope who is far from Benedict XVI’s vision, and that of my traditionalist sisters and brothers, that the liturgy itself serves as a seed for the world. And I mean the institutional face of that liturgy in its correctness, propriety, and sobriety. Note the disdain for the “corridors of power … the groups of influence.” This is not where Christ is to be acclaimed.
Instead, it seems the man wearing the fisherman’s ring will use the liturgy as a means to a greater end: the proclamation of the Gospel to the widest possible audience. Even in the US, consider the impact of an evangelical Palm Sunday–what that might be if the Church spilled out to make an impact on our worship spaces larger than that one Easter swelling? And we went out on Easter, too, and were not aimless and dishearted like those on the road to Emmaus. But we had a singular message to spread.