The readings for Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday) tell of the death of Jesus Christ, who showed us the true meaning of love and the nature of God. The reading for the procession of the palms recounts how Jesus was greeted by crowds while entering Jerusalem.
The first reading tells how we will be saved by a servant. The psalm was quoted by Jesus from the cross. The second reading speaks of the how Jesus was obedient to the Father. And in the Gospel, we remember how Jesus suffered and died for each of us, so that we could know life.
On this day the Christian community begins to re-enact a very important phase of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. We re-enact the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem as well as his passion. Hence today’s celebration reminds us of the dual nature of our Christian lives and journey. We are celebrated today and persecuted tomorrow. Today we are loved while the next day we are hated. Today we are praised and castigated the next day.
A very important lesson we must learn from all these is that, as life unfolds it presents us with its different dimensions. The same people who sing our praise in good times might be the same people to castigate us in future. Today, the same people applauding Christ by singing: “Hosanna to the son of David,” might equally be the same people to shout: “Crucify him!” This is the mystery and dialectics of life. It is a mystery because at times understanding it is beyond our imagination. It is dialectical because these two aspects of life help us to understand who we truly are, and what we mean to people.
Today, we prepare for Holy Week. Jesus is King and we choose to follow him. We follow him this week, step by step, from the gates of Jerusalem to the Upper Room, to the Garden of Gethsemane, to the Praetorium, to Calvary and then to the tomb and His glorious resurrection from the dead.
We emerge from the desert of penance and fasting, ready to accompany Our Lord on His final journey on the difficult and narrow way of the Cross, sure in the knowledge of His final victory over death and the obtaining of our eternal salvation.