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Palm Sunday

Mar 25

Written by:
3/25/2018 12:15 AM  RssIcon

Palm Sunday is one of the days of the year that always strike me, in particular as we approach the great feasts of later in this week; but also just as a stand-alone day, as the juxtaposition between the entrance at Mass (as we chant ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’) so quickly becomes the crowd yelling out ‘Crucify Him!’ How do we so quickly go from one to the other?

In his great trilogy ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI picks up this juxtaposition. He posits that these were not necessarily the same two crowds. The ones throwing their cloaks down and chanting ‘Hosanna!’ were the fellow pilgrims who also made their way from Galilee up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. They knew Jesus. They knew what He could do. They were familiar with His preaching and His presence; for they had spent time with Him as He walked and talked along with them. Not just on this journey towards Jerusalem, but during the years of his public ministry.

The later crowds, the ones yelling out ‘Crucify Him!’ were more likely the permanent residents of Jerusalem, ones who did not know Jesus as well as the Galileans. (This plays out in the Passion Narrative when Peter is challenged as being a follower of Jesus, for even his accent gave him away.) There was not a familiarity with Him, as the others had. Also, the message that Jesus was proclaiming was a much bigger threat to those in Jerusalem than those in Galilee; because the Temple was the center of all of life in the capital city, and Jesus had some very harsh words for what they were doing in the Temple at the time!

The leaders in Jerusalem would have seen this ‘threat’ coming and they understandably stir the crowd against Him, for their very livelihood was at risk. To them, Jesus was just another upstart, as we see in the Acts of the Apostles when they question what to do about Peter and the Twelve. Gamaliel (reportedly, St. Paul’s teacher) calms them down and brings up the perspective of others who had come preaching a similar message to what Jesus had said. All the others faded off into the distance, even the disciples of John the Baptist.

Yet, with Jesus we have something more, something greater. His message would not be stopped, but His message was not what was expected of the Messiah. And this is the springboard into the week ahead. His message is one of humility and following the Will of the Father, even to the end. The Messiah came to establish a heavenly kingdom, not an earthly one. And by stretching out His arms on the cross, He reaches out to embrace all of humanity, throughout all of history.

These few short days that we celebrate change the entire course of humanity. And we still have the option to cry out with the fellow pilgrims: ‘Hosanna!’ as we journey with Jesus over these days, so that we can experience the power of the Resurrection, the power of being broken free from Sin, so to be able to live as a son or daughter of God in Jesus.

May this upcoming Holy Week be fruitful and blessed for you and your family!
Fr. Kyle Schnippel

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Deacon Ron answers your questions.


Re: Why do we place a white pall on the casket of the deceased at funeral Masses?
I have been wondering about that. Thank you for explaining it.

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