Based on the Gospel of Luke 19:28-40 and 22:14-23:56
Jerusalem is buzzing with excitement and overflowing with people. Crowds are gathering to celebrate Passover, the yearly feast when Jews remember how God saved them from Egyptian slavery. They also want to meet Jesus, the miracle-worker and teacher.
The crowds enthusiastically greet Jesus with shouts of cheer and joy. They spread their cloaks on the road as Jesus rides on a humble donkey into Jerusalem to celebrate Passover with his disciples. “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.”
The Jews have been waiting for a Messiah who will free them from the Roman rulers. The crowds greet Jesus as a king. Jesus comes not as a mighty warrior king riding on a spirited stallion or in a glittering chariot, but as a Messiah of peace riding a humble, gentle donkey.
Remember when Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem before Jesus was born and that the donkey stood by the manger when Jesus was born in Bethlehem? Now, Jesus rides a donkey into Jerusalem a few days before his death on the cross. According to legend, that’s the reason donkeys have a cross marked out in soft dark fur on their gray backs.
With all the frenzied excitement and celebration, the chief priests aren’t happy. They are fearful Jesus will have more power over the people than they will, and the Roman rulers will then punish everyone. They secretly plan to kill Jesus.
In five days the cheers turn to jeers. The Gospel continues with all the events leading to Jesus’ death on the cross and burial. This reading of the Gospel is called the “Passion,” from the Latin word “passio” which means “suffering.” Passion (Palm) Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week, the most important and holiest week of the year, when we recall how much Jesus loves us and all that happened to him on his journey to Jerusalem during that first Holy Week – praise and celebration, treachery, betrayal, brutal suffering, death and Resurrection.
Spend Holy Week preparing for the great, glorious feast of Easter by:
n Reading the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ Passion (Luke: 22 and 23; Mark: 14 and 15; Matthew: 26 and 27; John: 18 and 19)
n Having more quiet time – turn off the TV, the computer and all other high-tech electronic gadgets.
n Praying – the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, and the Stations of the Cross to remember Jesus’ sufferings for love of us.
n Attending church with your family on the special days of Holy Week – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Holy Week tells us the world’s greatest love story!