Palm Sunday - Sr Nuala Kelly (Daughter of Charity)
Updated: Mar 30
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We are at the beginning of this most sacred of weeks. As we come to prepare for the feast of Easter we begin our journey with the crowd on Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is basically a human drama: it is our drama. As Jesus enters into his final journey he takes humanity with him.
We are not just remembering a historical event that happened 2000 years ago. We are celebrating and taking part in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as it happens today, to us and for us.
Jesus's journey begins with a huge wave of celebration, optimism, and hope. Large crowds were gathering for the feast of the Passover. Pilate is part of this story also. He enters Jerusalem from the West; he is the extension of Caesar and the face of Rome in Israel. He comes riding on a stallion with his troops, as Jesus is coming in from the East on a nursing donkey with a little colt trotting beside her. Jesus is a humble king of peace. He doesn’t travel with an entourage like Pilate, but with fishermen, women, and his peasant followers. Nobody is supposed to notice Jesus entering. He is a nobody from nowhere.
People lined the streets. They waved palms, they put their cloaks and garments on the ground and they shouted out "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord". This was an ancient Roman tradition used to welcome soldiers and armies home, after their success in battle. Throwing cloaks in the path of someone was an act of homage and submission and along with the throwing of palm branches, served as a recognition of royalty. They saw Jesus as their King.
As we celebrate Palm Sunday I invite you to reflect on the story and ponder, what is in your heart as you begin the journey of Holy Week walking alongside Jesus? Where are you in this procession through Jerusalem as Jesus passes by on the donkey; are you one of the crowd shouting out His name? As you take up your palm branch (maybe virtually) what are you thinking and feeling?
People spread what they could find and laid them before Jesus - some, the cloaks off their backs, - others, branches they cut along the way - they found something. What will you offer to Jesus today?
W. B Yeats in his poem "The Cloths of Heaven" wrote
"Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But, I being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet;"
Today, may each of us find the time and space to place our dreams at the feet of Jesus on this Palm Sunday and from our hearts say "Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord".
What is in your heart as you begin the journey of Holy Week walking alongside Jesus?