person holding green leaf plant

What is Palm Sunday?

Palm Sunday is a significant day, as it is the last Sunday of Lent and Holy Week‘s first day. On this day, the Church’s readings talk about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and His passion. To know more about this important day, scroll down below!

Where did the term “Palm Sunday” originate?

The term “Palm Sunday” was made about the events that happened when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem. In that time, people welcomed Jesus into the city by laying down tree branches, specifically palm branches, on the road. This was a practice done for people with high respect or for royalty or kings.

Significance of Palms Then and Now

In the olden times, Palms represented triumph and peace. Hence the gesture of laying down palms on the ground was an act of welcome and honor for Jesus’ arrival.

Nowadays, a blessing of the palms partakes before the mass starts. This blessing commemorates the moment when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem. However, you should also note that if Palm branches are not available, the Church may also use any other forms of green branches for the blessing.

Significance of the Donkey

In Matthew 21:1-11, you can see how Jesus entered Jerusalem by riding a donkey. During that time, influential people would usually arrive in a horse or a stallion which had this underlying projection of intimidating power, control, and war. In comparison, the donkey was seen as a gentle and peaceful animal, which can suggest that Jesus’ arrival brings a sense of humility and peace. So, the symbolism of the donkey is very significant to note.

What is Passion Sunday?

In some areas, Palm Sunday is also known as “Passion Sunday.” It’s called such because the reading on Palm Sunday will always narrate the passion of Christ.

What Happens to the Palms After Use?

Keep in mind that the palms were blessed before Mass. because of this, you can not simply discard your blessed palms to the trash. Instead, you can keep it and give it to your local parish to be burned and used as ashes for the following year’s Ash Wednesday.

Where is this in the Bible?

During Palm Sunday, the Gospel readings all turn to describe Jesus’ entering Jerusalem on a donkey. These are the four areas where you can read these call of events in the bible:

Matthew 21:1-11

When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage* on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples,2saying 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. And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?” And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

John 12:12-19

On the next day, when the great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm branches and went out to meet him, and cried out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, [even] the king of Israel.” Jesus found an ass and sat upon it, as is written: “Fear no more, O daughter Zion;* see, your king comes, seated upon an ass’s colt.” His disciples did not understand this at first, but when Jesus had been glorified they remembered that these things were written about him and that they had done this for him.l So the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from death continued to testify. This was [also] why the crowd went to meet him, because they heard that he had done this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the whole world* has gone after him.”

Mark 11:1-11

When they drew near to Jerusalem to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately on entering it, you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone should say to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ reply, ‘The Master has need of it and will send it back here at once.’” So they went off and found a colt tethered at a gate outside on the street, and they untied it. Some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They answered them just as Jesus had told them to, and they permitted them to do it. So they brought the colt to Jesus and put their cloaks over it. And he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!” He entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area. He looked around at everything and, since it was already late, went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

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