Holy Week 2017 – Palm Sunday
As our observance of Lent draws to a close, Palm Sunday sets us upon the threshold of Holy Week, these most sacred days in which we follow Our Lord through His bitter Passion and death to the glory of the Resurrection. Today’s liturgy is so rich, giving us a glimpse of Christ’s triumphant glory before turning our eyes to His unfathomable humility in redeeming mankind.
In some ways, the shift from the joyful songs of the procession with palm branches to the solemn tone of St. John’s Passion narrative is a shocking one. How do we turn so quickly from shouts of “Hosanna” to the jeering crowd beneath the Cross? Yet, there is a unity here, brought out beautifully in the opening prayers used for the Procession and the Mass.
Before blessing the palm branches to be carried by the faithful, the priest invites us to join in commemorating
“the Lord’s entry into the city for our salvation,
following in his footsteps,
so that, being made by his grace partakers of the Cross,
we may have a share also in his Resurrection and in his life.”
Then, once we have entered the church, he begins the Mass with these words:
“Almighty ever-living God,
who as an example of humility for the human race to follow
caused our Savior to take flesh and submit to the Cross,
graciously grant that we may heed his lesson of patient suffering
and so merit a share in his Resurrection”
Yes, we are beginning again this beautiful journey of following Christ through the Paschal Mystery, as He is praised and as He is mocked, as He is heeded by His disciples and dismissed by Pilate. And as the liturgy is so keen to remind us, by following with faith and devotion these holy days, we receive graces to help us follow Him and carry our crosses with Him each day.
May this Holy Week be a true opportunity for each of us to follow more closely Christ Our Crucified Lord!