What do we celebrate on Palm Sunday?
Palm Sunday is the last Sunday before the Easter Triduum. We also call it Passion Sunday.
This is a Christian feast of peace. The branches, with their ancient symbolism, remind us now of the covenant between God and his people. Confirmed and established in Christ, because He is our peace.
In the liturgy of our Holy Catholic Church, we read today these words of profound joy: the sons of the Hebrews, bearing olive branches, went out to meet the Lord, crying out and saying, "Glory in the highest!
While Jesus As he passed by, St. Luke tells us, the people spread their garments on the road. And when they were near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the disciples in great numbers, overcome with joy, began to praise God with a loud voice for all the wonders they had seen: Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord, peace in heaven and glory in the highest.
"By works of service, we can prepare for the Lord a greater triumph than that of his entry into Jerusalem." Saint Josemaría Escrivá
History and origin
On this day, Christians commemorate Christ's entry into Jerusalem to consummate his Paschal Mystery. For this reason, two Gospels have long been read at Mass on this day.
As Pope Francis explains, "this celebration has a double taste, sweet and bitter, it is joyful and painful, because in it we celebrate the Lord's entry into Jerusalem, acclaimed by his disciples as king, while at the same time the Gospel account of his passion is solemnly proclaimed. So our heart feels that painful contrast and experiences in some measure what Jesus felt in his heart on that day, the day when he rejoiced with his friends and wept over Jerusalem."
It is on Palm Sunday, when our Lord begins the decisive week for our salvation, that St. Josemaría recommends that "we leave aside superficial considerations and go to what is central, to what is truly important. Look: what we have to pretend is to go to heaven. Otherwise, nothing is worthwhile. To go to heaven, fidelity to the doctrine of Christ is indispensable. In order to be faithful, it is indispensable to persevere with constancy in our struggle against the obstacles that oppose our eternal happiness...."
Palm leaves, writes St. Augustine, are a symbol of homage, because they signify victory. The Lord was about to conquer, dying on the Cross. He was going to triumph, in the sign of the Cross, over the Devil, the prince of death.
He comes to save us; and we are called to choose his way: the way of service, of self-giving, of self-forgetfulness. We can follow this path by stopping during these days to look at the Crucifix, the "Chair of God".
Meaning of Palm Sunday
Bishop Javier Echevarría, makes us see the Christian meaning of this feast:
"We, who are nothing, are often vain and arrogant: we seek to stand out, to attract attention; we try to be admired and praised by others. The enthusiasm of the people is not usually long-lasting. A few days later, those who had welcomed him with cheers will cry out for his death. And we, will we let ourselves be carried away by a passing enthusiasm? If in these days we notice the divine fluttering of God's grace, which passes close by, let us make room for it in our souls. Let us spread our hearts on the ground, more than palms or olive branches. Let us be humble, mortified and understanding with others. This is the homage that Jesus expects from us."
"Just as the Lord then entered the Holy City on the back of the donkey," says Benedict XVI, "so the Church always saw him arrive again under the humble appearance of bread and wine.
The Palm Sunday scene is repeated in a certain way in our own life. Jesus approaches the city of our soul on the back of the ordinary: in the sobriety of the sacraments; or in the gentle insinuations, such as the ones that St. Josemaría In his homily on this feast, he pointed out: "live punctually the fulfillment of your duty; smile at those who need it, even if your soul is in pain; dedicate, without hesitation, the necessary time to prayer; come to the aid of those who seek you; practice justice, extending it with the grace of charity".
Pope Francis points out that nothing could stop the enthusiasm for the entry of Jesus; let nothing prevent us from finding in him the source of our joy, of authentic joy, which remains and gives peace; because only Jesus saves us from the bonds of sin, death, fear and sadness.
Whoever receives Jesus with humility and simplicity, then carries him everywhere.
Palm Sunday in the Bible
The Palm Sunday liturgy puts this canticle on the lips of Christians: Lift up your lintels, O ye gates; lift up your lintels, ye ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
First Gospel of Palm Sunday (Luke 19:28-40)
Having said this, he walked ahead of them going up to Jerusalem.
And when he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, by the mount called the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples, saying:
-Go to the village opposite; when you enter it you will find a donkey tied up, on which no one has yet ridden; untie it and bring it to him. And if anyone asks you why you are untying it, you shall answer him, "Because the Lord has need of it."
The envoys went and found it just as he had told them. When they untied the donkey their masters said to them:
-Why do you untie the donkey?
-Because the Lord needs it," they answered.
They took him to Jesus. And they threw their cloaks on the donkey and made Jesus ride on it. As he went on, they spread their cloaks along the road. And as he drew near, as he was going down the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples, filled with joy, began to praise God with a loud voice for all the wonders they had seen, saying:
Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!
Some Pharisees from the crowd said to him, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples.
He answered them, "I tell you, if these keep silent, the stones will cry out.
Gospel of Palm Sunday (Mark 11:1-10)
As he drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, by the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them:
-Go to the village opposite you, and as soon as you enter it you will find a donkey tied up, on which no one has yet ridden; untie it and bring it back. And if anyone says to you, "Why do you do that?" answer him, "The Lord needs him, and he will bring him back here at once."
They went away and found a donkey tied by a gate outside at a crossroads, and they untied it. Some of those who were there said to them:
-What are you doing untying the donkey?
They answered them as Jesus had told them, and allowed them to do so.
Then they brought the donkey to Jesus, threw their cloaks on it, and he mounted on it. Many spread their cloaks on the road, others the branches they cut from the fields. Those who went before and those who followed behind shouted:
-Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, blessed is the coming kingdom, the kingdom of our father David, Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna in the highest!
And he went into Jerusalem into the Temple; and when he had carefully observed everything, as it was toward evening, he departed for Bethany with the twelve.
"There are hundreds of animals more beautiful, more skillful and more cruel. But Christ looked to the donkey to present himself as king before the people who acclaimed him. For Jesus does not know what to do with calculating cunning, with the cruelty of cold hearts, with showy but hollow beauty. Our Lord values the joy of a young heart, the simple step, the voice without falsetto, the clear eyes, the attentive ear to his word of affection. Thus he reigns in the soul".
Palm Sunday processions
The tradition of celebrating Palm Sunday is hundreds of years old. For centuries, the blessing of the olive trees has been part of this feast, as well as the processions, The Holy Mass and the recounting during it of the Passion of Christ. Today they are celebrated in many countries.
The faithful participating in the Jerusalem procession, which dates back to the 4th century, They also carry palm branches, olive trees or other trees in their hands, and sing Palm Sunday songs.. The priests carry bouquets and lead the faithful.
In Spain, a cheerful Palm Sunday procession commemorates Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. Gathered together we sing hosanna and waves his palms as a gesture of praise and welcome.
The olive branches are a reminder that the Lent is a time of hope and renewal of faith in God. They are attributed to be a symbol of the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ.. They also recall the Church's faith in Christ and his proclamation as King of Heaven and Earth.
At the end of the pilgrimage, it is customary to place the blessed palms next to the crosses in our homes as a reminder of Jesus' Easter victory.
These same olive trees will be prepared for the following Ash Wednesday. For this important ceremony, the remains of the palms blessed on Palm Sunday of the previous year are burned. These are sprinkled with holy water and then scented with incense.
Songs for Palm Sunday
Brief list of recommended songs for Palm Sunday celebrations
- Processional song: YOU WILL REIGN
- Entrance chant: HOSANNA, HOSANNA
- From Psalm 21: MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?
- Acclamation before the Gospel: HONOR AND GLORY TO YOU, LORD JESUS
- Verse: CHRIST SUBMITTED HIMSELF FOR OUR SAKE
- Offertory song: LET US BRING THE LORD
- Saint: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY - Alberto Taulé.mp3
- Lamb of God: LAMB OF GOD
- Communion song: LORD, WHERE WILL WE GO?
- Song of reflection: IN YOUR CROSS YOU STAND TODAY
- Departure song: AL PIE DE LA CRUZ (AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS)
- Before the readings: GLORY TO YOU, LORD
Pope Francis, Homily, Palm Sunday 2017
Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth.
St. Josemaría, Christ is passing by
St. Josemaría, Forza