Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Time to tune in for world’s greatest love story
Based on the Gospel of Mark 11:1-10 and 14:1-15:47
Jerusalem is buzzing with excitement and overflowing with people. Crowds are gathering to celebrate Passover, the yearly feast when Jews remember God saved them from Egyptian slavery. They also want to see Jesus, the miracle-worker and teacher.
As Jesus arrives to celebrate Passover with his disciples, the crowds enthusiastically and joyfully cry out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest.” The crowds press in around Jesus waving palm branches and spreading their cloaks on the road to welcome him.
The Jews have been waiting for a conquering Messiah who will free them from the Roman rulers. As Jesus rides into Jerusalem, he is greeted as a king. Jesus comes not as a mighty warrior king riding on a spirited stallion or in a glittering chariot, but as a humble Messiah of peace riding on a young donkey a few days before his death on the cross.
According to legend, that is the reason donkeys have a cross marked out in soft dark fur on their gray backs.
With all the crowds’ excitement and frenzy, the chief priests are furious. They fear Jesus will have more power over the people than they will, and that 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 events leading to Jesus’ death on the cross and burial. This reading of the Gospel is called the “Passion,” from the Latin word “passio” that means “suffering.” Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week, the most important and holiest week of the year, when we recall Jesus’ love for us and all that happened to him on his journey to Jerusalem during that first Holy Week – praise and celebration, treachery, betrayal, condemnation, brutal suffering, death on the cross and burial.
Spend Holy Week preparing for the glorious feast of Easter and Jesus’ Resurrection by:
Reading the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ Passion (Mk: 14 and 15; Mt: 26 and 27; Lk: 22 and 23; and Jn: 18 and 19).
Having more quiet time – turn off the TV, the computer and all other high-tech electronic gadgets.
Praying – the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, and the Stations of the Cross to remember Jesus’ sufferings for love of us.
Attending church on the special days of Holy Week – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Holy Week tells us the world’s greatest love story!