Archbishop Jose H. Gomez used his Palm Sunday homily Sunday to call upon the faithful to trust in God’s mercy.

“God’s plans for us are all for love, for life, for our happiness and joy,” Gomez said as he celebrated a Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. “Holy Week makes us witnesses of our Lord’s love for us. Let us ask for the grace this week, to testify to the love we have witnessed. Let us open our hearts to one another, as he has opened his heart for us.”

Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem shortly before his death, marks the start of Holy Week, which will conclude next Sunday with Easter.

Due to coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions, palm branches were handed to the faithful by ushers wearing gloves. The branches represent the palms the crowd brought when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, a Christian tradition since the fourth century.

Attendance at each Mass was limited to 130 people because of coronavirus-related restrictions. The Cathedral’s full capacity is 3,000.

“As we enter into our second Holy Week in the time of the coronavirus, we are starting to see signs of hope,” Gomez said. “I encourage you all to read Pope Francis’ beautiful and practical letter for this Year of St. Joseph. From St. Joseph’s example, the Holy Father writes, we learn that `Our lives can be miraculously reborn if we find the courage to live them in accordance with the Gospel.’

“This is the mystery of God that we enter into during Holy Week and Easter. The way of the cross leads to the Resurrection. Our God is the God of the living, not of the dead. The promise of Easter is that we can be reborn, we can become a new creation in Jesus Christ.”

“In the cross, we see the certainty of God’s saving love. One of the saints said, `While the world changes, the cross stands firm.’ This is the lesson we have been learning in this pandemic, in all our disappointments and losses, in all the plans we have been forced to change or abandon.”

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