Pope John Paul II: Everyone baptized is an apostle

Homily of the Palm Sunday Liturgy, 12 April 1992

1. "I will tell of your name to my brethren" (Ps 22 [21]:22).

On this day the words of the Psalm are fulfilled. All Jerusalem resounds with the glory of the name of God—the name of God, the One who brought his people out of the land of Egypt, from slavery.

This people awaits the new coming of God. In Jesus of Nazareth it finds the confirmation of its expectations. When Christ draws near to Jerusalem, going up as a pilgrim with the others for the feast of the Passover, he is welcomed as he who comes in the name of the Lord. Exultantly the people sing "Hosanna".

Everyone had read exactly the signs in which the Prophets' tidings were fulfilled. Even the sign of the king who would arrive "riding on an ass" (cf. Zec 9:9) had been foretold.

2. But the insight shared by the crowd has its limits. He who, in the words of the Psalmist, comes "to tell of God's name to his brethren" is, at the same time—in the Psalm—the one who is forsaken, mocked, chastised.

"All who see me mock at me,
they make mouths at me, they wag their heads;
'He committed his cause to the Lord, let him deliver him,
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!’" (Ps 22 [21]:7-8).
And he says of himself, as if speaking to himself:
"They have pierced my hands and feet
—I can count all my bones...
they divide my garments among them,
and for my raiment they cast lots.
But you, O Lord, be not far off!
O you, my help, hasten to my aid!" (Ps 22 [21]:16-19).
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (ibid.,

Astonishing prophecy! Through these words we are already present at Golgotha, sharing in Christ's agony on the cross. These very words of the Psalmist will be on his lips in the hour of his agony.

Christ, who came to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover, completely understood the truth contained in the psalms and the Prophets. This was the truth about himself. He came to fulfil this truth to the utmost.

3. Through what happens on Palm Sunday there is opened for us a way to look upon the events shortly to follow, when this full truth about the Christ-Messiah will be made complete.

He who, "though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,... humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name... Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2:6-9, 11).

4. This is the Truth of God contained in the events of this Holy Week of Passover. These events have a human dimension. They belong to human history. But this man "truly... was the Son of God" (Mt 27:54). The human events reveal the inscrutable mystery of God. This is the mystery of the Love that saves.

When Christ, after his resurrection, says to the Apostles: "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel" (Mk 16:15)—in that moment he will give them the command to preach this very mystery, the fulness of which was achieved in the events of the Passover in Jerusalem.

5. These same words of the Redeemer of the world are addressed today to all the young people of Rome and of the whole Church. They become the guiding principle of this year's World Youth Day.

Dear young people, you must accept the saving truth of the Gospel, just as once the sons and daughters of the Holy City accepted the truth about the Son of David "who comes in the name of the Lord". Today you must accept this saving truth about Christ crucified and risen and, living it profoundly, strive to reach the heart of the world of our day.

"Go into all the world and preach the Gospel" (Mk 16:15): this is the charge which comes to you from Christ himself. You have reflected and prayed about this commitment, which is the theme of the Seventh World Youth Day. It is a commitment which involves each of you personally. Everyone who has been baptized is called by Christ to become an apostle in his or her own surroundings and in the world.

What will your answer be?

May each of you make his own the words of the Psalmist:

"I will tell of your name to my brethren

Your name!

In no other name under heaven is there salvation (cf. Acts 4:12).