We enter the last week of Lent, Passion Week, or Holy Week from Easter. From Sunday to Friday, the Denial and morning services are done in the evening as part of the Vigil. However, they differ because they include songs and prayers specific only to the Easter season.
Palm Sunday is the most crucial holiday before Easter. Indeed, on this day, the Christians go to church, have a fish disfellowship and celebrate the names of those with flower names. According to the Christian Calendar, on Palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem after the Saturday of the resurrection of Lazarus. Jesus’ gesture of riding in on a donkey’s colt was made on the day when the Jews were choosing the lambs he was to sacrifice at Passover: thus, Jesus says that he is the Lamb of God, the one who wipes out the sins of mankind by his sacrifice.
Jesus was indeed awaited at the entrance to Jerusalem with branches of fir, palm, and garments, by which the inhabitants recognized Him as King. This angered the Pharisees and Sadducees, the scholars who made up the Sanhedrin and the body that condemned Christ to death.
What does Palm Sunday celebrate?
The Gospel highlights the fact that the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem was foretold many ages before by the prophets (cf. Isaiah 62:11), especially by the prophet Zechariah, in the women’s words incredibly, O daughter of Zion, rejoice, O daughter of Jerusalem, for behold, your King comes to you righteous and victorious, humble and riding on an ass, on the donkey’s colt” (Zechariah 9:9).
The Holy Gospel of Palm Sunday, which closes the 40-day Lent of Easter, was ordained by the Church to be celebrated as the feast of the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem, also called Palm Sunday. Yet, in this Gospel, we are first told of Mary’s gratitude to Jesus for the resurrection from the death of her brother Lazarus of Bethany, who was a friend of Jesus Christ.
In today’s Gospel, the Entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem is a celebration of His victory over the death of Lazarus and a foreshadowing or anticipation of His victory over His death through His resurrection from the dead.
Biography of Jesus Christ
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Biblical places from the times of Jesus Christ
- Jerusalem- Where is the Temple of Jerusalem?
- Kinneret- Is Kinneret located in Jerusalem? Is it the sea?
- Galilee- Where is the exact location of Galilee?
- Gethsemane-Where is this garden located?
Read also: Who was Mark the evangelist? What is the central message of the Gospel of Mark?
Was Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem foretold?
The Lord’s entry into the earthly Jerusalem foreshadowed or anticipated His passage through suffering and death. Then His entry with the resurrected body into the heavenly Jerusalem, that is, into the glory of the Most Holy Trinity. Therefore, Jesus’ entry into the earthly Jerusalem will be followed by His passage through suffering and death.
The Gospel highlights the fact that Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem was foretold many ages before by the prophets, especially by the prophet Zechariah, in words, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, rejoice, O daughter of Jerusalem, for behold, your King comes to you righteous and victorious, humble and riding on an ass, on the donkey’s colt” (Zechariah 9:9).
The Gospel also tells us that it was only after Christ had been glorified by His resurrection from the dead and His ascension into heaven that His disciples understood that His triumphal entry into Jerusalem was not an accident but the fulfillment of God’s plan. Therefore, we see that between the event of Jesus Christ’s entry into the earthly Jerusalem and His heavenly glory after the Resurrection, there is a mysterious connection.
Key Verse related to Palm Sunday
“With great power, the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all.”
Why is Jesus enthusiastically received in the city?
Palm Sunday is the day we celebrate the Savior’s entry into Jerusalem. He enters in humility, riding on the donkey’s colt, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah: “Rejoice, O daughter of Zion, rejoice, O daughter of Jerusalem, for behold, your King is coming, righteous and victorious, in humility and riding on the donkey, on the donkey’s colt” (Zechariah IX, 9). The crowd welcomed him with fir branches and songs of joy: “Hail to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9).
The crowds receive the Savior Jesus Christ with such enthusiasm because of the resurrection of Lazarus from the tomb, a miracle celebrated on the Saturday before Palm Sunday. His victory over the death of Lazarus foreshadows victory over his death. This is why we wear willow branches at Easter, a symbol of the triumph of life over death.
The Saviour comes to fulfill the prophecy and calls the Jews to Himself. St. Cyril of Alexandria says in his Commentary on the Gospel of John that He did not come to Jerusalem to worship the Jews but to preach His deity through His words, miracles, and wounds.
What did the believers carry on the streets on Palm Sunday?
In the beginning, Palm Sunday was held only by the Christian community in Jerusalem. Later we find it present in Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor. In the 5th century, it was celebrated in Constantinople when the emperor and his court participated in the solemn procession.
The Palm Feast and Sunday were celebrated extraordinarily because the believers carried branches of the finch tree through the city streets. The Lord’s entry into Jerusalem inaugurates the last week of His earthly life. Thus, from this day begins Passion Week. In all the churches, every evening, the penitential services are celebrated. The faithful are called to accompany Christ on the cross until His death and Resurrection.
Palm Sunday is the first impartial, date-changing feast of the Church year. The feast reminds us of our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem before the Passion.
Traditions and customs of Palm Sunday
Believers keep several traditions and customs at Easter. Here are the most important ones:
- Believers go to Mass with willow branches consecrated and then placed on icons, windows, and doors. They are also placed on graves, which are cleaned on Palm Sunday.
- Willow branches are also on fruit trees, vine stumps, beehives, and windows. The purpose is to attract prosperity and health. Also, for this reason, willow shoots are buried under the first furrow.
- The vines are also given willow shoots to eat to keep them healthy throughout the year and make healthy calves.
- The whole household is sprinkled with holy water for the family’s health.
- It is said that it is suitable for people to partake of the flowers to grant their wishes. To do this, one needs to have a desire in mind when approaching the priest.
What does Palm Sunday mean?
This feast is one of the most important in the Christian calendar, representing the only time the Saviour accepted to be acclaimed Emperor.
Palm Sunday marks, year after year, the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, greeted with flowers, olive and fir branches by thousands of people and acclaimed as a true emperor with the words: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”.
On this day, a different Mass is celebrated than on other Sundays, and the faithful go to church with willow branches. The priest blesses these during a special moment before Mass.
What is also called Palm Sunday?
According to tradition, Palm Sunday was celebrated with great solemnity in Byzantium and the royal courts. The emperors (lords) and their dignitaries took part and were given lit feasts at Easter.
Palm Sunday was also called Aspirants’ or Candidates’ Sunday because on this day, the catechumens all went with great solemnity to the bishop to ask to be admitted to baptism, and he gave them to learn the Symbol of Faith. It was also called the Sunday of Pardons because the emperors granted pardons in its honor.
So, according to an ancient custom mentioned even in the 17th century, the feast was also celebrated on Sunday. IV by the pilgrim Egeria and generalized throughout the Christian Church. Indeed, the willow branches are brought into the churches, which are blessed and distributed to the faithful, in memory of the components of the fir and olive, with which the crowds welcomed the Lord at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem and which we carry in our hands as a sign of victory against death.
Prayer to say on Palm Sunday
“O Lord our God, who also sittest upon cherubim;
Who indeed hast revealed Thy power and sent Thy only begotten Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ, undoubtedly to save the world through the Cross,
so through His burial and resurrection; Who, also coming to Jerusalem to the passion of his own free will,
the people who sat in darkness and the shadow of death,
taking the signs of victory, branches of trees, and pillars of fire, foretold His resurrection,
“O Lord, keep us also, who, following them, bear in our hands
branches of trees in our hands on this day of our former feast.
And also like those peoples and those infants who cried to Thee:
“Hosanna, protect us also, so that by praises and spiritual songs
so that we may be granted the life-giving resurrection of the third day,
in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom indeed you are blessed,
also with Thy most holy and good and life-giving Spirit,
now and ever and unto ages of ages.”
2 Facts about Palm Sunday
The Palm Sunday is also called “The Wedding of the Nettles”
These are the days when nettles bloom, but they are not suitable to eat, signifying the approaching end of the Easter fast. This is why Palm Sunday is known as the ‘Wedding of the Nettles. The Feast of the Flowers, the day for all those named after flowers, has deep roots in history. In Roman times, it was dedicated to the goddess Flora. Later, Christians made it the day of the beginning of preparations for the Resurrection of the Lord, linking it to the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem.
Palm Sunday weather is the forecast for Easter weather.
It is popularly believed that the Palm Sunday weather anticipates the forecast for Easter Day. The interpretation differs, however, from region to region. While in some areas, it is said that as the weather will be on Easter Sunday, so it will be on Palm Sunday, in others, it is the other way round: if it is sunny on Palm Sunday, it will rain on Easter Sunday, and if it is gloomy on Easter Sunday, it will be warm and sunny on Easter Sunday.
- Palm Sunday is the most important feast of these days. It heralds Easter, and it’s good to say the Flower Prayer in the morning when you wake up.
- Palm Sunday marks the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem indeed. It is also the day He rode on a donkey and was greeted with flowers, olive branches, and willow. On this day, those named after flowers are also celebrated.
- On Palm Sunday, the faithful attend church in the morning and carry flowers and budded willow branches. These are also placed on a table in the church, and the priest consecrates them. Then all the faithful go home with flowers and willow branches.
If you enjoyed our article, please check our following Quiz about Jesus and The Palm Sunday. May God bless you and keep you safe!
Bible Quiz about The Palm Sunday and Jesus