Palm Sunday: Then and Now

One year ago on Palm Sunday, I have a vivid memory of  standing in front of our church with numbers of people holding palms in bright sunshine as our priest joyfully and generously sent streams of abundant blessed water on each and everyone of his flock. Children giggled, adults smiled and our exuberant shepherd exuded happiness. We processed into the church for Mass.

It was a reenactment of the procession begun at Bethsaida, down the Mount of Olives, through the Sheep gate into the streets of Jerusalem and finally entering the Great Temple in Jerusalem. They sang Hosanna to the King of David, the Messiah. Their king rode a donkey, just as He was carried thirty some years before in the womb of His Blessed Mother Mary into Bethlehem.

Just six days after the exuberant procession, their King was brutally nailed to a cross on Golgotha. That is why Palm Sunday is also called Passion Sunday and the Gospel of the Passion of Christ is read at Mass. Jesus experienced jubilation shadowed by the Cross. Today amid a devastating epidemic, with churches closed, we also celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus into the Holy City knowing not only the reality of the Cross but also the end of the story, Resurrection.

We are a people of hope. Most of us are watching Mass via the internet. We pray for the end of this confinement and separation from the Sacraments. The Lord is still in control and He knows what He is about. I believe He will use this evil for good.

Note:
It is not mentioned where Jesus had supper on the night of Palm Sunday. Perhaps he went to the home of Lazarus in Bethany. The Gospel of Mark says the next day when He was coming from Bethany, He was hungry; He saw a fig tree and found no fruit on it and made it wither. It makes me wonder: Had he eaten the night before? My daughter in law told me of a custom to set a place at your supper table for Jesus on Palm Sunday, and we will be doing that tonight. This is an especially good custom at this time with most people not inviting guests.

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