Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem: When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me. And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, ‘The master has need of them.’ Then he will send them at once.” This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: “Say to daughter Zion, ‘Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” (Matthew 21:1–9). Palm Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday which marks the beginning of Holy Week and Jesus’ agonizing journey to His Crucifixion.
Palm Sunday originated in Jerusalem around the late third or early fourth century. Back then, the ceremony consisted of prayers, hymns, and sermons as people moved through the holy sites within Jerusalem. At the last site, the place of Jesus’ Ascension into heaven, the biblical account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem was read. As evening approached, the people would return to the city proclaiming: “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 21:9). The ritual blessing of palms was added in the sixth and seventh centuries.
In the Church today, Palm Sunday liturgy includes the blessing of the palms. Many people take the blessed palms and place them in their homes. Palm Sunday is an opportunity to meditate upon the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus entered Jerusalem amid shouts of ‘Hosanna!’ from the people; but at the same time, Jesus humbly entered Jerusalem to give up His life on a Cross, in order to save mankind from sin and death.
This year, the Holy Name of Jesus Chinese Catholic Mission celebrates Palm Sunday on April 2. Mass in Chinese is at 10:30 am and Mass in English is at 2:00 pm. All are invited!