For most of our lives we have probably been calling this day PALM Sunday. And this makes sense because we receive the blessed palms and imagine ourselves accompanying Jesus into his Holy City, Jerusalem.
This is the beginning of Holy Week and the palms we take home are tangible reminders of this celebration. But, in fact, today’s solemnity has a longer name: PALM SUNDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD. The triumphal entry into Jerusalem is recalled at the beginning of Mass but it is the passion, the suffering and death, of Jesus that is at the heart of our celebration.
Today we hear the words of the Prophet Isaiah speaking of the suffering servant of God; in Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we hear the great hymn of the early Church singing of Christ’s dying on a cross; and, this year, we hear the Passion Narrative from Saint Luke’s Gospel with his own unique details of the death of Jesus. All this is given to us by the Church to help us better situate ourselves in the events of Holy Week. We walk with Jesus from his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem to the Last Supper on Holy Thursday to his death on the Cross on Good Friday to his victory over death at the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. I encourage you to participate in all the liturgical services of Holy Week in order to best celebrate the joy of Easter!
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