Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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World’s greatest love story about to unfold

Based on: Is 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Mt 21:1-11 and 26:14, 27-66

Jerusalem buzzes with excitement and overflows with people gathering to celebrate Passover. They also want to see Jesus, the miracle-worker and teacher, arriving with his disciples.

The crowds press in around Jesus waving palm branches and spreading their cloaks on the road as he rides a donkey into Jerusalem. They enthusiastically and joyfully cry out, “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” “Hosanna” means “Yahweh, save us!”

The Jews have been waiting for a Messiah to free them from Roman rule. Although the crowds greet Jesus as a king, he doesn’t come as a warrior king riding on a spirited stallion, but as a Messiah of peace riding on a gentle donkey.

Amid the frenzy, the Pharisees are fearful Jesus will have more power over the people than they. They secretly plan to kill Jesus.

In five days, the cheers turn to jeers. Matthew’s Gospel follows through on the “Suffering Servant” portrayed in Isaiah and that “Jesus Christ is Lord” for everyone in Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. All the events presented lead to Jesus’ death on the cross and burial.

This Gospel is called the “Passion,” from the Latin word “passio” which means “suffering.” Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord is the beginning of Holy Week, the most important and sacred week of the year, recalling Jesus’ love for us and all that he encountered on his final journey to Jerusalem – praise and celebration, treachery, betrayal, condemnation, brutal suffering, death on the cross and burial.

Spend Holy Week preparing for the glorious feast of Jesus’ Resurrection on Easter by:
– Reading the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ Passion (Mt: 26 and 27; Mk: 14 and 15; Lk: 22 and 23; Jn: 18 and 19).
– Having more quiet time – turn off the TV, computer and all other electronic gadgets.
– Praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary and the Stations of the Cross.
– 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.