Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

Throughout Holy Week Catholics pray and reflect on the events leading up to and during the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.

Holy week begins on Palm Sunday, one week before Easter Sunday. Palm Sunday is also called Passion Sunday.

On Palm Sunday, the liturgy focuses on both aspects of Jesus Paschal Mystery.

Solemn processions and the blessing and distribution of palm branches call to mind Jesus’ triumphant entry ino Jerusalem.

Then the faithful participate in the reading of a Passion narrative from one of the Gospels which recounts Jesus’ suffering and Crucifixion.

This week is supposed to be set apart:

The holiest time of the year:

Let us return to today’s Gospel passage and ask ourselves: what is really happening in the hearts of those who acclaim Christ as King of Israel?  Clearly, they had their own idea of the Messiah, an idea of how the long-awaited King promised by the prophets should act.  Not by chance, a few days later, instead of acclaiming Jesus, the Jerusalem crowd will cry out to Pilate: “Crucify him!”, while the disciples, together with others who had seen him and listened to him, will be struck dumb and will disperse.  The majority, in fact, was disappointed by the way Jesus chose to present himself as Messiah and King of Israel.  This is the heart of today’s feast, for us too.  Who is Jesus of Nazareth for us?  What idea do we have of the Messiah, what idea do we have of God?  It is a crucial question, one we cannot avoid, not least because during this very week we are called to follow our King who chooses the Cross as his throne.  We are called to follow a Messiah who promises us, not a facile earthly happiness, but the happiness of heaven, divine beatitude.  So we must ask ourselves: what are our true expectations?  What are our deepest desires, with which we have come here today to celebrate Palm Sunday and to begin our celebration of Holy Week?

Pope Benedict XVI, Palm Sunday Homily, April 1, 2012

A journey from false triumph to true triumph:

All of Jesus’ emotions as He prepared for His struggle:

The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, crying, “Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on an ass’s colt!”

John 12: 12-15

The readings for Palm Sunday are long for a reason:

Welcoming the King and Messiah with branches and shouting:

God responds to our cry for help:

Jesus’ words and actions at the climax of his life:

How will Jerusalem welcome her Messiah? Although Jesus had always refused popular attempts to make Him king, He chooses the time and prepares the details for his messianic entry into the city of “his father David”. Acclaimed as Son of David, as the One who brings salvation (Hosanna means “Save!” or “Give salvation!”), the “King of glory” enters his City “riding on an ass”. Jesus conquers the Daughter of Zion, a figure of his Church, neither by ruse nor by violence, but by the humility that bears witness to the truth. And so the subjects of his kingdom on that day are children and God’s poor, who acclaim Him as had the angels when they announced him to the shepherds. Their acclamation, “Blessed be He who comes in the name of the Lord”, is taken up by the Church in the “Sanctus” of the Eucharistic liturgy that introduces the memorial of the Lord’s Passover.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 559

“I did this to You…so why would You do this for me?”:

Jesus’s love persisted through betrayal and crucifixion:

Celebrating Palm Sunday at the tomb of Jesus:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Promoting the common good:

Share this page with friends and family to start a conversation about your faith.

Don’t miss a post. Learn more about the Catholic Church and strengthen your Catholic faith.

Find more Fiercely Catholic video issues here.

Subscribe here.

Book a Fiercely Catholic program at your next conference, retreat, or other Catholic event.