HAPPY PALM SUNDAY

On this day, the Christian Church celebrates Palm Sunday. Also known as the Sunday of the Passion of Jesus, it is the solemnity with which Holy Week begins, the last days of Jesus’ life. The Palm Festival, which partly recalls the Jewish pilgrimage festival of “Sukkot” (Feast of Huts), is observed not only by Catholics, but also by Orthodox and Protestants.

 

Jesus at the entrance of Jerusalem
Source: papaboys.org

THE COMMEMORATED EPISODE

Jesus, who had come with his disciples to Betfage (near Jerusalem), had sent two of them to pick up a donkey with a colt in that village. The Disciples obeyed and returned with the two animals. The next morning they covered their backs with cloaks. Jesus sat down and set out on his way to Jerusalem, where a large crowd welcomed him waving branches of palm trees in his honor.

THE LITURGY ON THIS DAY

The liturgy, of ancient tradition, provides for the faithful to gather in a place near the church. Here the priest blesses the branches of olive or palm trees which are then carried in a procession into the church, where Mass is celebrated, including the reading of the Passion of Jesus. The blessed branches of palm and/or olive are then distributed to the faithful who keep them at home as a symbol of peace, exchanging some with friends and relatives.

 

PALM SUNDAY IN ROME

In Rome on Palm Sunday the Pope celebrates the event with a Mass in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope, in the center of the square, blesses the palm trees and olive trees and, at the end of the procession, as the rite establishes, celebrates Mass with the memory of the Passion of Christ.
Pope John Paul II has been calling for the celebration of World Youth Day (when there is no International Day) all over the world since 1985.

The Pope in St Pert’s Square today
(Source: famigliacristiana.it)

SYMBOLISM OF PALM AND OLIVE TREES

The episode is narrated by all 4 Gospels, although the only one to speak of palm branches is only the Gospel of John. While Luke’s Gospel does not mention it, Matthew and Mark’s Gospels tell us that the crowd waved branches of trees or branches taken from the fields.

The palm tree, symbol of triumph, acclamation and royalty, alludes to victory, rebirth and immortality. For these reasons, in Christian art he often accompanies the figures of martyrs: “the just will flourish like the palm, will grow like the cedar on Lebanon” (Psalm 92:12). The palm is a testimony of martyrdom, but also a foreshadowing of the just reward in the kingdom of God and of the resurrection after death.

On this day of celebration, however, we see many times also olive twigs that, according to some historians, were introduced in Italy because of the scarcity of palm trees in some areas of the peninsula and the abundance of olive pruning in this season of the year.
The olive branches are linked to the episode of the universal flood. Noah, after the deluge, sent a dove, who in the evening returned to him carrying in his beak an olive branch, as evidence that the waters had withdrawn from the earth. The olive tree thus becomes a symbol of peace between man and God, of that covenant of covenant that the Lord made with Noah after the Universal Flood.

#palmsunday #onthisday #aspassoconsara

Posted by Sara Pandozzi

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