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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
March 28, 2010

The Real Significance of Palm Sunday
                           
    Some Catholics come to Mass on Palm Sunday in order to receive their yearly supply of blessed palms.  Others come because they have a sense that this day, being set off by the distribution of palms, is somewhat more “special” than most other Sundays.  Still others come because this day ushers in the holiest of weeks in the liturgical calendar.  Is there a deeper significance to this day?

    The story begins with the fact that Jesus decides to make a very public entry into the city of Jerusalem.  It was the time of the Passover so the population had multiplied at least six fold thus swelling the normal population of 50,000 to about 300,000.  This was no small crowd to contain if trouble arouse.  Not only did Jesus come to Jerusalem like all good and religious Jews, he made it a point to come in on a donkey which served as a means of being seen from a distance.  He definitely meant to send a message, i.e., “My time has come and I will not run away.”

    The historian Bill Petro tells us that Jesus was very aware of his coming fate.  This was not solely due to divine powers.  The past three years of Jesus’ life had brought about several threats and attempts of assassination.  Jesus was well aware of his unpopularity with the officials of Israel.  Jesus’ constant attacks on the Pharisees only helped to make them side with the more politically minded of the country.  The fact that Jesus humiliated the money changes in the temple when he overturned their tables did not serve him well with the more business minded in the population.

    The leaders of Israel felt that Jesus had to go.  He was instigating too much trouble.  The outcome could lead to complete rule from Rome.  The plan to get rid of him was very high on the priority list.  According to custom, Petro says, the law demanded that there be a 40 day public announcement of a trial.  They could not allow this to happen without the notice going up.  Consequently there were, no doubt, posters throughout the city and even the small surrounding towns announcing the intention to bring Jesus to trial.

    Then why is Palm Sunday so significant?  Because Jesus came into the city fully aware that he was walking into a lion’s den.  He allowed his enemy to see him.  Not only did they see him but they saw the crowds threat him like royalty.  They threw their cloaks on the ground to soften his way.  They held palms and placed them beneath his feet to show respect and belief in his Messiahship.  But more importantly, Jesus was telling his enemy that he was not going to run from his father’s will.  They were not going to intimidate him.  He was not going to run sacred.  He had come into the world for a purpose. He had a mission and he would be true to that mission

    What then should we take away from this day?  As disciples of Christ we too are often asked to stand up and be counted.  We are asked to make decisions that are probably not popular with the rest of society, perhaps not even with our family.  We are asked to challenge the wrong doing of politicians, economic policies of business and government.  We are asked to stand our ground even when things look like they may be dangerous.  Being a disciple of Christ is not easy.  This is the real significance of Palm Sunday.  Are we up to the challenge?
                                   
Lorette P. Nault