Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Based on Is 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Lk 19:28-40 and 22:14 – 23:56

Jerusalem buzzes with excitement and overflows with people gathering to celebrate Passover. The crowd’s shouts of joy greet Jesus arriving with his disciples, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.”

The people spread their cloaks on the road as Jesus rides into Jerusalem. 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.

Remember when Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem before Jesus was born and the donkey stood by the manger when he was born? 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.

In all the excitement, the Pharisees fear Jesus will have more power over the people than they will have. They secretly plan to kill Jesus.

In five days, the cheers turn to jeers. Luke’s Gospel account is called the “Passion,” from the Latin word “passio” meaning “suffering.”

Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week, the most important and holiest week of the year, recalling Jesus’ love for us and all that happened to him 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 (Luke: 22 and 23; Mark: 14 and 15; Matthew: 26 and 27; John: 18 and 19).

* Having more quiet time – turn off the TV, computer and all other electronic media.

* Praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, and the Stations of the Cross to remember Jesus’ sufferings for us.

* Attending church with your family on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

Holy Week tells us the world’s greatest love story!