Monday, March 12, 2012
Questions & Answers for Palm Sunday
Picture : Palm Sunday 1970s
Why is this day called Palm Sunday?
In memory of our Saviour's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, when the multitude strewed palm branches before Him, for which reason the Church, on this day, blesses palms, and carries them in procession.
Why are palms blessed?
That those who carry them with devotion, or keep them in their houses, may receiveprotection of soul and body, as prayed for in the blessing; that those who carry the palms may, by means of the prayers of the Church, adorn their souls with good works and thus, in spirit, meet the Saviour; that, through Christ whose members we are, we may conquer the kingdom of death and darkness, and be made worthy to share in His glorious resurrection and triumphant entrance into heaven. St. Augustine writes of the palms: “They are the emblem of praise, and sign of victory, because the Lord by death conquered death, and with the sign of victory, the cross, overcame the devil, the prince of death." Therefore, preceded by the cross, we go in procession around the church singing hymns of praise; when we come to the church door, we find it locked; the priest knocks at it with the cross. Heaven was closed to us by the sin of Adam, and it is opened to us by reconciliation through Jesus on the cross.
Why did Jesus enter Jerusalem so solemnly and yet so humbly?
To show that He was the promised Messiah and King of the Jews, as foretold by the Prophet Zacharias, (IX 9.) and that He had come to conquer the world, the flesh and the devil, for which He used the weapons of meekness, humility, and poverty and therefore came seated not on a proud steed but like a poor person on the weak colt of an ass, entering Jerusalem in all humility, thus teaching us that meekness and indifference to earthly goods are our best weapons to gain victory over our enemies. Jesus entered Jerusalem so humbly to perfect the type of the Paschal lamb, for on this day the lambs which were to be sacrificed in the temple on the following Friday, were solemnly led into the city. Thus Jesus like a meek lamb, entered the city of Jerusalem to be sacrificed for us.
Why did the people meet Christ with palm branches?
This happened by the inspiration of God, to indicate that Christ, the conqueror of death, hell and the devil, would reconcile man with God, and open the heavenly Jerusalem to him, for thepalm is the emblem of victory and peace. By this we learn also the inconsistency and mutability of the world; for the very people who on this day met Christ with palm branches exclaiming: "Hosanna to the Son of David," a few days later shouted: "Crucify him! Crucify him!" - Learn from this to despise the praise of the world, and be careful not to imitate the inconsistency of this people by crucifying Him again by sin (Heb. VI. 6.) after having received Him with joy in holy Communion.
How should we take part in the procession on this day?
With the pious intention of meeting Christ in spirit, with the devout people of Jerusalem, adoring Him, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David, Hosanna to Him who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna to the Highest!" and with the heart-felt prayer to Jesus for His grace, that with Him we may conquer the world, the flesh and the devil, and thus merit to be received into the heavenly Jerusalem.