PALM SUNDAY REFLECTION.
Summary vid + full text.
- What is being commemorated during this day?
- The Blessing of the Palms, the meanings of the procession, and of “Hosanna”.
- Christ wants to extend his spiritual Kingdom in our soul.
- Tips on living the Holy Week in a holy way
“When the great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm branches and went out to meet him, and cried out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel (Jn 12:12–16).”
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the Holy Week during which the universal Catholic Church commemorates the Paschal Mystery of Christ, that is, His Passion, Death and Resurrection to which He willingly submitted Himself out of love for us.
It commemorates Jesus’ “triumphal” entry into Jerusalem which “manifested the coming of the kingdom that the King-Messiah was going to accomplish by the Passover of his Death and Resurrection. It is with the celebration of that entry on Palm Sunday that the Church’s liturgy solemnly opens Holy Week (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 560).”
Today’s Liturgy of the Blessing of the Palms and the Procession anticipate the triumph of Christ, a humble and gentle King who comes not by force but in peace, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 where the future messianic king is described as “humble”.
- The procession done before the Mass (in places where it is possible) symbolizes the welcoming of Jesus into his city by the children and humble of heart, cutting palm branches –a symbol of victory and of peace– and acclaiming Jesus as the Savior or Messiah.
- This fact is depicted by the use of the Hebrew word “Hosanna”, which originally is an appeal to God to “save us, His people” but was later used as a shout of joy, of acclamation and praise to mean “Long live” the Son of David, the Messiah, “who comes in the name of the Lord (Ps 118:16)” thereby proclaiming the kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Nevertheless, Jesus himself explained later on before Pilate that his kingship “is not of this world”. As St. Augustine wrote,
- “Christ was not king of Israel for exacting tribute, or arming a host with the sword; but king of Israel to rule souls, to counsel them for eternal life, to bring to the Kingdom of heaven those that believe, hope and love” (In Ioann. Evang., 51, 4).
- “Christ should reign first and foremost in our soul. But how would we reply if he asked us: ‘How do you go about letting me reign in you?’ I would reply that I need lots of his grace. Only that way can my every heartbeat and breath, my least intense look, my most ordinary word, my most basic feeling be transformed into a hosanna to Christ my King” (St. Josemaria, “Christ is passing by,” n. 181).
However, we realize that the cries of Hosanna were short-lived.
- “Just five days later the enthusiastic hosannas gave way to angry shouts of Crucify him!. What accounts for such a sharp turn-about, and such inconsistent behaviour? If we are to understand at all, perhaps we only need to look a little into our own hearts.
- How different the cries, St Bernard comments, ‘Away with him, away with him, crucify him,’ and then ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, hosanna in the highest!’ How different the cries are that now are calling him ‘King of Israel’ and then in a few days time will be saying, ‘We have no king but Caesar!’ What a contrast between the green branches and the cross, between the flowers and the thorns! Before they were offering their own clothes for him to walk upon, and so soon afterwards they are stripping him of his, and casting lots upon them (St Bernard, Sermon on Palm Sunday 2, 4).
- The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem asks for loyalty and perseverance from each one of us, it calls us to deepen in our faithfulness, and for our resolutions to be more than just bright lights that sparkle for a moment and then fade away. There are some striking contrasts in the depths of our hearts, for we are capable of the very greatest things and also the very worst, and so if we wish to possess the divine life and triumph with Christ, we need to be constant and through penance deaden within us anything that separates us from God and prevents us from following Our Lord unto the Cross. (F. Fernández-Carvajal, In Conversation with God, vol. 2, n. 40.3 “
The question is: How could we convert all our actions into a Hosanna to Our Lord? An immediate practical way is to live the Holy Week in the best manner possible: to live it in a holy way.
Below you have some tips on how to do this:
- Make sure you are in the state of grace (without mortal sin). If not, I encourage you to receive God’s love, mercy and forgiveness in the Sacrament of Confession; if priest is unavailable, pray an act of perfect contrition with the will to confess as soon as possible.
- Thank Our Lord for His total self-giving, dying on the Cross in order to save us;
- Accompany Him closely during these days through generous prayer and sacrifice in atonement of our sins and that of the whole world, meditating on the Gospel passages which narrate His Passion and Death to realize how much He loves you;
- Offer to Our Lord your sufferingswhich becomes a pleasing sacrifice: illness, risk of exposure to the COVID-19 because of your job; hunger; anxiety; separation from those who are quarantined; tiredness; the death of a love one or a friend; patience with difficulties of being quarantined with people who have character problems…and so on.
- Attend the online Holy Week Services during the present circumstances. on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday and Easter Sunday
- Struggle to live a holy life, not only during this Holy Week, but beginning again daily by avoiding sins which are the cause of Christ’s Passion and Death;
- Say many acts of love, of contrition and of thanksgiving; Make life pleasant to the people around us, especially those who are in need;
Dear brethren in Christ, may we also proclaim the kingship of Christ. May our “Hosanna” be shown in our renewed faith in Jesus, Our Lord, Savior and King, manifested not only in words but above all with deeds so that Christ would happily reign and remain in our soul and life.
A “Holy” Holy Week ahead! Stay safe and God bless. Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.
AUDIO CREDIT: Kevin Macleod, Canon in D Major (incompetech.com) Attributive License Creative Commmons 3.0)
ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCES: http://www.teerhardy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/palm-sunday-icon-819×1024.jpg https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/2f/84/c6/2f84c6391b15f420b5e26149fa616fa9.jpg https://janeaustenrunsmylife.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/jesus9.jpg https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/64/Sankt_Petersburg_Auferstehungskirche_innen_2005_e.jpg/1280px-Sankt_Petersburg_Auferstehungskirche_innen_2005_e.jpg http://www.catholictradition.org/Passion/pge-1.jpg
Stay updated: subscribe by email for free TO OUR NEW WEBSITE www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.org (PUT YOUR EMAIL IN THE SUBSCRIBE WIDGET).
We are also in www.fb.com/Catholicsstrivingforholiness. Kindly help more people in their Christian life by liking our page and inviting your family, friends and relatives to do so as well. Thanks in advance and God bless you and your loved ones! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo