From Hosanna to Crucify him…

The WORD in Other Words by Fr Emil Pati SVD (Philippines) on Palm Sunday

Our Palm Sunday Liturgy is rather lengthy (so I will make this reflection short).

The re-enactment of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem reminds us of the warm welcome Jesus received from his fellow Israelites. In the same manner then, the fresh green palm leaves, we religiously call “ramos” each one is holding now, show we have welcomed Jesus in our hearts anew today.

In just a few days however, those green “ramos” will turn pale and dry to signify the greatest expression of God’s self-giving (Second Reading). The blessed palm branches that we take home should serve as a constant reminder of the victory which Jesus as a suffering Servant (1st Reading) won for us by dying on the cross.  Because of the cross, Jesus made the perfect atonement for the sins of humankind.  

I am reminded of the first time I celebrated Palm Sunday in Africa many years ago. Palm leaves were put on top of a table outside the Church and after the blessing each one picked up a palm leaf and in jubilation all entered the Church in procession. What amazed me so much was the shortness of time they needed to make a beautifully crafted cross out of the palm leaf. In no time during the homily everybody was holding a cross. At the end of the Mass when there was a final blessing, I blessed no longer palm leaves but crosses.

The time element here may figuratively parallel how fast the crowd that hailed the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem turned their backs on him and called for his crucifixion a few days after.  As we enter today the solemnity of HOLY WEEK, let us have an honest inward looking into ourselves. Are we in one way or the other among the crowds who shouted “Hosanna” but after a few days shouted “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” by falling easily into sin?

By this time we should realize that sinners as we are, Jesus took all the punishment each one deserves. Having this in mind, let us express our deep devotion by continuing to follow Jesus through the holy celebrations of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and most of all Easter Sunday.

– Fr. Emil B. Pati, SVD (St. Joseph Parish, Claveria, Cagayan)

Source – The WORD in Other Words, Bible Diary 2020

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