The man we now know as Pope Francis, preaching on Palm Sunday 2008:
Today, here in Buenos Aires, like in Jerusalem on that day, the street made way for Jesus. The street received Him properly. The crowd stood, begged for blessings, blessings for their families, blessings for their businesses, their houses, their autos… Blessing, what does that [really] mean? [It means] that Jesus “speak well” of something, that He approach! That He enter families, hearts, homes, autos, businesses…Jesus out in the street, interacting with the crowd…There. His desire is, just as the gates of the city were opened to Him, the same is done with the doors to our hearts. Every Holy Week He asks the same thing: “Open your heart to Me. I’m not here to mortify you! I’m not here to boss you around! I’m not here to take anything from you…I’m here to give you everything. I want to make you happy.” That’s what He’s telling us. If we slam the doors to our hearts in His face, He suffers. Although He is used to it, He suffers. And we lose the opportunity to become happy.
We say that today the Church has spilled out into the street, to imitate that Palm Sunday, but also to affirm that today, in a special way and by extension, the place for Christ is out in the street. The Gospels tell us He would go to the temple, that He would go to the synagogue, but they also tell us he was on the roads, in the cities, in the streets. Today the place for Christ is the street; the place for the Christian is the street. The Lord wants us like Him: with an open heart, roaming the streets of Buenos Aires. He wants us walking the streets of Buenos Aires and carrying His message! Like Him, on the road and on the street. He doesn’t want us hoarding His word just for ourselves, locked inside our own hearts, our own house, or in the temple, instead that we spill His word on the street. He wants us walking out on the street.
Image: Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio riding the bus to work in Buenos Aires.