Palm Sunday is the first act of the Paschal Mystery (Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection). Today, Christ processed through the Jewish crowd, who would betray him in only a few days’ time. Today, at Mass, we accompany the priest who, in the Person of Christ, processes towards the altar of sacrifice—toward the Cross and our redemption, traveling the betrayal, denial, and desertion of the Via Crucis. Then, in the final act, our Lord’s mercy and love conquer death!
The palms we hold today symbolize that great drama. They are an ancient symbol of victory, but also remind us of our death and our fickle—and fallen—human nature. Almost forty days ago, ashes were used to trace the Cross on our foreheads: ashes made from last year’s palms, raised high for Christ’s triumphal return. We heard the words “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” and “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” The Gospel is the good news that Christ rose from the dead and conquered death. His death is our victory!
Entering into the liturgical drama of the Triduum, we pray especially for our priests on Holy Thursday, when the Priesthood was instituted, and for all the faithful, that charity may prevail in our lives. On Good Friday, we give thanks for the graces of our redemption, that we may pattern our lives after Jesus and with faith embrace the Cross. Finally, on Holy Saturday, we wait outside the tomb with hope and expectation, knowing that the apostles are trustworthy, the Scriptures are true, and Jesus is ALIVE!
As we participate in Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection this Holy Week, may we recognize God’s gift of abundant mercy and offer a fitting response. Be assured that you are kept in our prayers!