Since Holy Week is not a mere commemoration of past events, but a true celebration that demands our participation in the great mystery of our salvation, we should desire to take an active part–with our minds and hearts open to all the graces being offered, and our bodies ready and willing to take part in the rituals.
The whole Church enters into the Passion, death and resurrection of her Bridegroom Jesus Christ, by celebrating the liturgies of Holy Week. These rites are not only of unique and singular dignity, but they have a sacramental power and effectiveness all their own (Maxima Redemptionis Nostrae).
This greatest and holiest week of the Church year is begun by one of the most impressive of these rites–the solemn procession with palms in honor of Christ the King. This is a triumphal proclamation of the Church in honor of her Messianic King, who on this day enters his holy city to begin the work of redemption.
(Note: Scott Hahn explains that this was the day when the lambs for the Passover sacrifice were being brought into the city of Jerusalem! This is “Lamb Day.” Other scripture scholars explain that it was “politically incorrect” and dangerous for the disciples of Jesus to be shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David” - the title which everyone knew belonged to the rightful Davidic heir to the throne, the Messiah. To proclaim Him King was to spark a revolution. Ironically, within 6 days, the Jews themselves would cry out: “We have no king but Caesar!”)
The Palm Sunday liturgy is not a mere dramatization of the historical event known as the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. “Christian liturgy not only recalls the events that saved us but actualizes them, makes them present.....In each celebration there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that makes the unique mystery present.” (CCC #1104) The Palm Sunday liturgy is the anticipated celebration of his victory on the cross and his glorious resurrection from the dead. We are truly proclaiming and honoring Jesus Christ as the Messiah King as we take part in this liturgy. By his Paschal Mystery, Jesus won a kingdom for himself. The procession interprets the inner meaning of this event.
The reformed liturgy gave back to this Sunday its ancient name: “Passion Sunday.” This reminds us that the contemplation of the Passion is the first theme not only of this Sunday but of the entire week. One who takes part in the Palm Sunday liturgy, becomes aware of an abrupt and sharp transition occurring as the procession moves into the Mass.
· The procession is marked by triumphant joy–an anticipation of Easter.
· The Mass is filled with an atmosphere of majestic somberness, heavy with the thought of the imminent Passion of Jesus.
For instance, in the responsorial psalm we cry out with Jesus, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” And the Gospel is the solemn reading of the Passion which we also do on Good Friday. Today prepares us to celebrate Good Friday in the proper manner.
~ Excerpt from Mother Catherine Marie’s reflection on Palm Sunday
Things to Do:
The palms distributed at Mass are blessed, so are sacramentals. Read Blessed Palms in the Home.
One of our monastic traditions is to serve a “Bethany Plate” at the evening meal on Palm Sunday. The Scriptures do not tell us where Jesus spent the night after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, but we can guess that He may have stayed at the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, His friends in Bethany. We set a place at table for the Lord, and serve a special platter of nuts, dried fruits, and sweets in His honor.
Palm Sunday: Pray the......Liturgy of the Hours
Monday of Holy Week: Pray the ......Liturgy of the Hours
Tuesday of Holy Week: Pray the ......Liturgy of the Hours
Wednesday of Holy Week: Pray the ......Liturgy of the Hours