Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the Holy Week for all Catholics around the world. Holy Week is very significant a week, as this entire week the passion of Jesus Christ begins and increases day by day till his death on the cross. We see in the Bible that Palm Sunday is the day when the people of Jerusalem welcomed Jesus with a Bang! They celebrated his entry into Jerusalem. However, sometimes it feels that this day is nothing but a good early morning dream. Why? It is because of the same people who welcome him with glory and honor, the same people also shouted to get him crucified. Makes no sense, right! But this is the truth. Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem with such enthusiasm from the people also allows us to begin every Palm Sunday Eucharistic Celebration with a procession with Palm leaves in hand. However, there are few things that we tend to forget about the significance of Palm Sunday.
Here are 5 important facts that we must keep in mind about Palm Sunday.
1. Jesus’s Victorious Entry into Jerusalem.
Ok, we need to understand one thing here. Jesus was no king of any country of this world. He did not wage any war and win them. If that is so, why was he welcomed as a victorious king. Palm signifies victory. Pal leaves are waved when a king enters his city after winning a war. That is how his people celebrate his victory. But Jesus never won any war when he was in Galilee or Judea or Samaria or Nazareth or Jerusalem. But, because of what he did in all these cities, the numerous miracles that he performed, and the way he challenged the Pharisees without any fear, all these factors gave him a huge following and made him known everywhere. He became famous. And thus when people came to know about his arrival in the city of Jerusalem they became excited. Because they thought that Jesus was a prophet who would free them from the Romans and make them an independent city. Owing to his supernatural powers, people thought him to be the future king of Jerusalem and other cities. Hence, they welcomed him victoriously shouting ‘Hosanna’ which means ‘ Save Us’.
2. Humility Of Jesus
No matter what people thought and did, Jesus knew why things were happening. He also knew what was about to happen in a few days. However, even though his arrival to Jerusalem was victoriously, yet he never sought what was glorious for him. He could have very well entered on a horse or in a carriage, but he chose the humblest of all – a Donkey. A Donkey is an animal that no one is proud of. However, when it comes to carrying the heaviest of the loads for a traveler, people remember not a horse, but a donkey. God the Father had planned well from before about this day. And thus a donkey was used as an instrument to tell people and show them how much humble we need to be. Jesus is God, he knew that. He knew he comes from the Father, but that did not become a factor to change the prophecies made about him. He even knew that these very people who are welcoming him with pride and honor, those same very people are going to crucify him in the next four days. Yet, he acknowledged their celebration and became a part of their happiness. This is what he still does today. He knows that we are sinful and we sin every moment. Yet, he never refuses us when we come to celebrate Palm Sunday, the same it was done 2000 years ago.
3. Beginning of His Passion
Palm Sunday is the first day of the Holy Week. Which means that the reason why Jesus was born is going be completed in the next few days.Jesus was born to spread the Gospel, convert sinners and die on the cross for us. Again after his death on the third day he needs to resurrect to prove on the face of all humanity that he is God. But, his passion plays a major role in the completion of his work. Infact that’s the exact amount of pressure that needs to be given to this piece of coal from which a diamond is going to be formed. Jesus knew very well, about his passion, as he has always spoken about it several times to his disciples. Something which they could never understand. However, his welcome in to the city of Jersualem just before the feast of Passover was no coincidence. On the feast of Passover when a perfect lamb needs to be sacrificed in the alter to please God and to seek salvation, in the same feast, the very Son of God, the perfect Lamb which came down from heaven had to be sacrificed in the most brutal way to save all of mankind. This is the only way of our salvation. God so loved the world that he gave his only son to die for us, so that whoever may believe in him shall not die but have eternal life.
4. Fullfillment of the Scripture
From the time he was born till his last breath on the cross, Jesus made sure that every word of the prophecies mentioned in the scriptures are fulfilled. His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, that we now celebrate as Palm Sunday, is also a prophecy, that is fulfilled in John 12:15. As Jesus very boldly had made this statement that he did not come to break the old laws but to fulfill them. He indeed made sure that he fulfills each and every prophecy that was made about him. The reason he chose to sit on the back of a donkey is so that people may one day believe in the scriptures.
5. Upcoming Important Deeds Of Jesus
After his entry into Jerusalem, Jesus came into the limelight. There was no more time to stay aloof from the crowds. Once he entered. he ran straight into the crowd present in the temple. He made bold statements such as – not one stone of the temple will remain unturned- something which scared the priests of the temple. He makes some of the most important statements in the city. He says that he comes from the Father, He says that whoever believes in him believes in the Father, he predicts his betrayal, washes the feet of his disciples, gave them the new commandment, predicts Peter’s denail, shows us the one true and only way to the Father, institutes the Sacrament of the Eucharist, promises the descend of the Holy Spirit and many other things. We can get in detail all that he did and said after Palm Sunday (entry into Jerusalem) in the Gospel of John. Thus this week after Palm Sunday is the most valuable and heavy-with-deeds days in the life of a Catholic.
These are the 5 important facts or thoughts that we often overlook during the celebration of Palm Sunday and also the entire Holy Week. Let’s reflect upon these factors and try to keep this week Holy as it is.