Dear Doctimus Prime,
Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and I am excited. I am excited because I have another opportunity to join others in waving those green branches to acclaim Jesus, “King of the world”! I am also excited because the 40 days of Lent is coming to its dramatic close with the Holy Week, the week in which Christ redeems us from sin, Satan and death.
PALM SUNDAY is the Sunday before Easter Sunday. On this day, Jesus enters Jerusalem as foretold in the Old Testament and its account is given in the four Gospels (Mk 11:1-10; Mt 21:1-11; Lk 19:28-38; Jn 12:12-16). The subject of Palm Sunday is the account of Jesus openly entering Jerusalem. The people rushed to meet Him because of His miracles and fame. He entered riding a donkey, and the people spread palm branches before Him as a sign of welcome and honour. The principal ceremonies of the day are the blessing of the palms, the procession, the Mass, and during it the singing of the Passion.
Symbolism of Palm Branches
On the altar, branches of palms are placed between the candlesticks instead of flowers ordinarily used. Palm branches have been used by many nations as an emblem of joy and victory over enemies. In Christianity (and Catholicism especially), it is used as a sign of victory over the flesh and the world according to Psalm 91:13. We learn on this day that anyone can turn against Jesus at any moment in spite of their devotion to Him.
The Drama of the Passion
The drama of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem introduces us into a paradox and an irony. The paradox is that this same crowd that spreads palm branches and clothes on the floor chanting and dancing “Hossana to the Son of David” (Ps 118:26; Mk 11:9-10) will in five days’ time cry, “Crucify him!!!” The irony, however, is that although they demand his life, Jesus freely offers it for their sake. The name given to him in mockery is his actual name; He is the “King of the Jews” and the King of kings. They, like us, were quick to profess their admiration and love for Him, yet little did they know that most of them would be crying for His death on Good Friday, that very week!
More Than Words
The event of Palm Sunday shows us that faith is not just a matter of words. Your life should be an eloquent testimony to what you believe. You have to do more than simply believe in Jesus; you have to understand how that affects your whole life. Jesus has to be at the centre of your thought, words and deeds. You need to take the word of God seriously; the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist should be your steady companion. The people you meet each day and the things you do are opportunities for you to GIVE GLORY AND PRAISE TO GOD. Faith is a verb and not just a noun. Only then will you truly wave the palm branch of your soul, a holy and acceptable sign to Jesus, the true King of the World and the King of your soul.
All Hail the King!
Jesus is a king who destroys the weapons of war, a king of peace and a king of simplicity, a king of the poor. Palm Sunday reminds us of the new world-encompassing kingdom of Jesus that extends from sea to sea in the communities of the breaking of the bread in communion with Jesus Christ, as the kingdom of his peace … Jesus is not building on violence like corrupt politicians; he is not instigating a military revolt against Rome. His power is of another kind: it is in God’s poverty and peace that he identifies the only power that can redeem. Pledge allegiance to Him and to others as long as they follow Him.