6th Sunday: The Palms
Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified.
Palm Sunday is known as such because the faithful will often receive palm fronds which they use to participate in the reenactment of Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem. In the Gospels, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a young donkey, and to the lavish praise of the townspeople who threw clothes, or possibly palms or small branches, in front of him as a sign of homage, a customary practice for people of great respect.
Palm branches are widely recognised symbol of peace and victory, hence their preferred use on Palm Sunday. The use of a donkey instead of a horse is highly symbolic – it represents the humble arrival of someone in peace, as opposed to arriving on a steed in war.
A week later, Christ would rise from the dead on the first Easter.
During Palm Sunday Mass, palms are distributed to parishioners who carry them in a ritual procession into church. The palms are blessed and many people will fashion them into small crosses or other items of personal devotion. These may be returned to the church, or kept for the year.
Because the palms are blessed, they may not be discarded as trash. Instead, they are appropriately gathered at the church and incinerated to create the ashes that will be used in the follow year’s Ash Wednesday observance.
1. If something similar were to happen today, with Jesus coming into your town, how do you think the crowd of people would react?
2. How would you react?
3. As we enter Holy Week, what will you do to increase your spiritual preparation for Easter?
Almighty and everliving God,
in your tender love for the human race
you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ
to take upon him our nature,
and to suffer death upon the cross,
giving us the example of his great humility:
Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering,
and also share in his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Practice humility by putting others first in whatever way you can