What do we celebrate today? Some say it’s Palm Sunday, and that we commemorate the Lord’s joyful entrance into Jerusalem. Carrying palms, we honor the Lord with Hosannas. Others call it Passion Sunday, and that we remember Jesus’ suffering and death on the Cross. We hear the entire Passion narrative presented almost like a play. By using our imaginations we visualize the Lord endure his agony in the garden. We watch Pilate sentence him to death. We hear soldiers scourge and mock him. Our mood changes from jubilation to grief. So begins Holy Week, the culmination of six weeks of Lenten fasting, prayer, almsgiving and special devotions.
What do you do with your blessed palms? Many put them on the wall behind the crucifix in their home. Others weave them into various shapes and display them appropriately. Like all the holy objects in our homes, the palms are meant to remind us of some aspect of our faith; in this case, Jesus’ triumph over sin and death.
Holy Week also includes the Sacred Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil. How might we make the most of this week? We can contemplate the events of Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection through the eyes of the person who most loved him, his mother Mary. With Mary we watch Jesus dragging his heavy Cross to Calvary; we are with her at the foot of the Cross when Jesus dies; and we help her take Jesus’ body down from the cross and lay him in the tomb. In the end we rejoice with Mary on Easter!