Make Way for the King

by Sister Diane Heiss, SDSH

Photo by Brady Leavell on Unsplash

Sunday – Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord – we do celebrate the “King of Kings” at the start of Holy Week, as Jesus enters Jerusalem to accomplish His Paschal Mystery for the salvation of humanity. All four Gospels (Mt. 21:1–11; Mk.11: 1–11; Lk. 19: 28–38; Jn. 12: 12-15) recount the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, with the crowd shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel,” cutting palm fronds, waving them and tossing them at his feet as Jesus rode by on a colt that had never been ridden before.

About 500 years prior, the prophet Zechariah had proclaimed: “Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is He, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass” (Zec. 9:9), thus foretelling Jesus’ humility and peaceful mission. How ironic and heartbreaking that this same crowd who was praising Jesus would, a mere five days later, be shouting “crucify Him, crucify Him” at Pilate’s tribunal on Good Friday, even after Pilate proclaimed Jesus’ innocence.

Jesus, although the King of Kings, did not claim an earthly kingdom; in fact, when questioned by Pontius Pilate, He responded, “My kingdom does not belong to this world” (Jn 18:36) because if it did, His people would be fighting to liberate Him. At the same time, He acknowledged that He was king, and came into the world to testify to the truth.

The previous weeks of Lent have been a time for prayer, penance and good works, as we tried to detach our hearts from lesser loves and fasten them on Jesus, the greatest of all loves. As Holy Week commences with Palm Sunday, we are urged to join Jesus in the final week of His life, as He continues His work of redemption through His passion, death, resurrection and ascension. It was not necessary for Jesus to suffer such an unspeakable agony and death; God could have chosen a multitude of other ways of saving us. However, this was the way He chose, demonstrating the seriousness of sin and the depth of His infinite love for each of us. During Holy Week we celebrate the Last Supper/first Mass on Holy Thursday; Jesus’ crucifixion, death and burial on Good Friday; and His resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday. May we truly accompany Jesus as He gives his life for us.

■ Attend Palm Sunday Mass together.
■ Read the accounts of Palm Sunday from the four Gospels.
■ After Mass, weave your palm leaves into a cross; a tutorial is available online.
■ Research how diverse cultures celebrate Palm Sunday.
■ Provide a treat of Hot Cross Buns.
■ Make “Palm Sundaes” and enjoy!

Published in Orange County Catholic paper 3/14/2024 – Click for original article