Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
Palm Sunday ~ Between March 15 and April 19
Palm Sunday observes Jesusí entrance into Jerusalem. The crowds who were in
Jerusalem for the Passover were waving palm branches and proclaiming him as
the messianic king.
In addition to palm trees being common in the Mediterranean world and its
leaves a logical material to cover a dusty road, palm leaves were also a
symbol of victory and triumph in the ancient world.
The cheering, palm waving crowds that lined the road gave evidence to the
effectiveness of Jesus' message and the large following he had attracted.
Given this, it is no wonder that the religious and political establishment
were concerned about his popularity and the potential threat to their
earthly power that it represented.
However, Jesus' kingdom was not of this earth and he was not seeking earthly
power. While his followers hailed his entry into Jerusalem with palm leaves
which symbolized triumph and victory, Jesus himself elected to be on the
back of a humble donkey rather than a horse. Throughout history horses
were the preferred means of travel for the rich and powerful. The horse was
used in war and represented conquest and power. The donkey, however, is puny
compared to the horse and is a simple beast of burden used by the common
As Christ repeatedly stated, his kingdom was not of this world but rather that
of heaven. He urged his followers to focus on and prepare for eternal life
in heaven, not political change on earth. The Gospels tell us that Jesus rode into the city on a
donkey, enacting the prophecy of Zechariah. Palm Sunday is also known as
Passion Sunday to commemorate the beginning of Holy Week and Jesusí final
agonizing journey to the cross.
Palm Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday to commemorate the beginning of
Holy Week and Jesusí final agonizing journey to the cross. The English word
passion comes from a Latin word that means "to suffer," the same word from
which we derive the English word patient.
As we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, we celebrate
the first joy of the season, but it is also the beginning of Holy Week, the
greatest tragedy and sorrow of the year. Jesus' triumphal return to Jerusalem is only one side of the story.
By now many of the Jews are filled with hate for Our Lord. They wanted to
see him stoned, and were calling Him a blasphemer. Jesus had been called to
Bethany where he raised Lazarus from the dead. This was a miracle that won
Him such attention among certain Pharisees that they have decided finally to
end His life.
Jesus took refuge at Ephrem and returned to Bethany six days before
Passover, which was Palm Sunday. He entered Jerusalem triumphantly. That
evening He left Jerusalem and then returned on Monday. He spent time with
the Gentiles in the Temple, and on Wednesday he left for the Mount of
Olives. There he foretold the events of the next several days, and of His
impending death to the apostles.
He returned to Jerusalem on Thursday, to share the Last Supper with His
apostles. He was subsequently arrested, tried, and crucified on Friday on
Calvary, at the gates of Jerusalem. He was buried the same day.
All of this was done by Our Lord for the forgiveness of our sins, and for
life everlasting with Him. God so loved us, that He sent His only begotten
Son to die for us, so that our sins may be forgiven.
Next Holy Day