Sunday, April 01, 2007

With Innocent Hands and a Pure Heart We Will Find Friendship with God

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
Homily for Palm Sunday, April 1, 2007

Let us get back to the liturgy and the Procession of Palms. The liturgy proposes as hymn Psalm 24[23], which was, even in ancient Israel, a processional hymn used during the ascent to Temple Mount. The Psalm describes the interior ascent which the exterior ascent symbolizes, and therefore explains to as, yet again, what it means to ascend with Christ.

"Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?" asks the Psalm, and then indicates two essential conditions. Those who are making the ascent and who truly wish to reach the top, to the true heights, should be people who ask themselves about God. Persons who look around them to search for God, to find His face.

Dear young friends, how important this is today! Don't allow yourselves to be simply carried along willy-nilly by life. Don't be content with what everybody thinks and says and does. To scrutinize God, or the idea of God, is to look for God. Never allow this question of God to leave our souls: it is the desire for that which is greater, the desire to know Him, His face.

The other very concrete condition for this ascent with Jesus is this: “only he who has innocent hands and a pure heart” may be in the sacred place. Innocent hands -- hands that have not been used for acts of violence. They are hands that have not been soiled by corruption, by bribes.

A pure heart. When is a heart pure? A pure heart is one that does not pretend and is not stained by lying and hypocrisy. A heart that remains as transparent as spring water because it does not know duplicity. A heart is pure that is not hostage to the inebriation of pleasure; a heart in which love is true and not simply a passion of the moment.

Innocent hands and a pure heart! If we walk with Jesus, we will ascend and find the purification that comes to us at that elevation to which man is destined -- friendship with God Himself.

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