From the desk of Ms. Kathleen Cook, Director of Religious Education
Theme: Palm Sunday From the cross, Jesus speaks words of forgiveness and promises that the good thief will be with him in paradise.
Summary: Today’s passage from Saint Luke, like most of Saint Luke’s Gospel, presents Jesus as the sacrificial offering. This Gospel was written at a time when the majority of Christians were previously Gentiles, and the Church needed to understand Christ in ways that supported their present and future lives as disciples. During the final meal that Jesus shares with his apostles, he tells them that their leadership of the Church should be that of servant leadership. He defines their roles as totally different from what they have seen and experienced, saying: Let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant.
Scripture: When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Luke 19:37-38
Jesus and his followers were traveling to the city of Jerusalem. The city was going to have a big celebration called Passover that would last for a whole week. As they were traveling, they came to a place called the Mount of Olives. They stopped there and Jesus gave his disciples some special instructions. “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that donkey?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.'”
So the disciples went and found the young donkey, just as Jesus had told them they would. And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owner asked them, “Why are you untying that donkey?” They simply answered, “The Lord needs it.”
The disciples took the young donkey to Jesus and they put coats on its back so that Jesus would have a nice, soft seat as he rode it into town. Word spread quickly through the town that Jesus was coming. He had become quite famous because people had heard about his healing the sick and even raising the dead. As Jesus entered the town, a large crowd had gathered. People began to throw their coats on the road in front of Jesus. They cut branches from the palm trees and waved them and they began to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.”
It must have looked like a parade as Jesus went through the streets of Jerusalem with everyone waving and cheering. But as exciting as all this was, the people really did not know who Jesus was. They thought he was going to set up an earthly kingdom and that he would do great things for them here on earth. They did not understand that his kingdom was in heaven. In just a few days, these same people who were shouting, “Hosanna!” would be shouting, “Crucify him!” because he wasn’t the kind of king they wanted.
The Good News today is that Jesus is King. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Today we are here to praise him and we shout, “Hosanna!” It means “Save now!” That is why we shout hosanna, because Jesus saves — Jesus alone.
Dear Father, our voices join with the voices of the people in Jerusalem some two thousand years ago. Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. He is our hope and our salvation. In his name we pray. Amen.
My Promise to Jesus: At home, I’ll hang a blessed palm branch on my crucifix. Its green leaves are full of life!
Reflect: If a word or phrase from the Gospel captures your heart, sit quietly for several minutes, repeating it to yourself and asking God to show you how it applies to your life. Or reflect and possibly journal on the following question: Who in your life responds to pain or persecution with the same love, courage, and faith that Jesus had in is last hours?
Suggested book that compliments today’s Gospel:
The trees of the Dancing Goats
Written by Patricia Polacio
Family Discussion: Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday, marks the beginning of Holy Week. During this week, we prepare ourselves for Easter by prayerful reflection upon the events of Jesus’ passion and death. During this week, your family might display a crucifix in a prominent place as reminder of salvation Christ won for us. This can also serve as the focal point for family prayer during Holy Week.
Because of the length and complexity of the passion narrative, it is difficult for children to remain attentive when it is proclaimed in its entirety. Families can make it a tradition to read a portion of this Sunday’s Gospel each day of Holy Week, providing ample opportunity for children to ask questions and respond to the events described there. In this way, the entire week can become a “way of the cross.”
Each day during Holy Week, the family can gather in a prayerful space with a crucifix as its focal point. The passion as found in Luke’s Gospel might be read as follows throughout the week:
|Sunday:||Luke 19:28-40 (Gospel at the Procession with Palms)|
After reading from the Gospel each day, the family might reflect on the reading together. Conclude your prayer time together by praying the Lord’s Prayer and/or singing an appropriate hymn, e.g., “Jesus, Jesus,” “Were You There?” or “What Wondrous Love is This.”
The Importance of Sunday: Sunday, the “Lord’s day,” is central to our liturgical life. Our observance begins on the Saturday evening before, and all Catholics are obligated to participate in Mass every weekend. There, the “Lord’s Supper is its center, for there the whole community of the faithful encounters the risen Lord who invites them to his banquet” (CCC 1166).
The Church also encourages us to treat Sunday as a day of rest, recreation, and family time as a way of keeping the Third Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day…..keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:8-10)