Pope Francis’ homily for Palm Sunday: “Children, burial shrouds don’t have pockets”

That’s one of the improvised anecdotes that the Holy Father dropped into his remarks today:

Pope Francis celebrated his first Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square, encouraging people to be humble and young at heart, as tens of thousands joyfully waved olive branches and palm fronds.

The square overflowed with some 250,000 pilgrims, tourists and Romans eager to join the new pope at the start of solemn Holy Week ceremonies, which lead up to Easter, Christianity’s most important day.

Keeping with his spontaneous style, the first pope from Latin America broke away several times from the text of his prepared homily to encourage the faithful to lead simple lives.

Palm Sunday recalls Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem but its Gospel also recounts how he was betrayed by one of his apostles and ultimately sentenced to death on a cross.

Recalling the triumphant welcome into Jerusalem, Francis said Jesus “awakened so many hopes in the heart, above all among humble, simple, poor, forgotten people, those who don’t matter in the eyes of the world.”

Francis then told an off-the-cuff story from his childhood in Argentina. “My grandmother used to say, `children, burial shrouds don’t have’ pockets,'” the pope said, in a variation of `’you can’t take it with you.”

Since his election on March 13, Francis has put the downtrodden and poor at the center of his mission as pope, keeping with the priorities of his Jesuit tradition. His name — the first time a pope has called himself `Francis’ — is inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, who renounced a life of high-living for austere poverty and simplicity to preach Jesus’ message to the poor.

Read the entire text of the homily.  

And below are is a snippet of the pope blessing the palms:

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