Bengaluru: Great celebrations marked Palm Sunday in the Archdiocese. Archbishop Bernard Moras was the main celebrant in a number of functions. He concluded a forty day programme in which both religious and laity participated with 24 hours praise and worship, adoration, intercessory prayers, preaching the word of God and Mass. Archbishop Moras had inaugurated the Lenten plan of action on Ash Wednesday.
Archbishop blessed the palms and led a procession into the chapel of Bridgettine Convent near M G Road. He called upon the people gathered to follow the footsteps of Jesus. He was humble and represented the heavenly Father in love, mercy, kindness and compassion.
Quoting the readings the Archbishop elaborated saying, Jesus said to his disciples, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there. Untie it and bring it to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs it, and .. … The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey (the colt), placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.”
Palm Sunday is significant because it represents the beginning of the Holy Week, part of the Christian calendar that focuses on Jesus’ last days before he was crucified.
“A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’ When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’ (Matthew 21:1-3, 6-11).
All the Gospels describe Jesus riding into the Holy City on the back of a donkey that had never been ridden before, to show he came in peace not to wage war. Palm Sunday marks the moment when the Son of God entered Jerusalem in triumph.
Pope Francis is someone different. He used his Pope mobile during his US visit. Pope saw all high and luxurious cars all around. His vehicle was small and simple like a Maruti car. He was conveying a message and giving an example to the world. His intention was to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Jesus chose a colt, instead of an elephant, a horse or a palanquin. These points are noted in the Passion of the Lord.
The Church enters into the celebration of Holy Week. Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem one week before His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.
The crowds in Jerusalem joyfully welcomed Jesus and “we have made that enthusiasm our own. By waving our palm leaves, we have expressed our praise and our joy, our desire to receive Jesus who comes to us.”
“Nothing could dampen their enthusiasm for Jesus’ entry. May nothing prevent us from finding in Him the source of our joy, true joy, which abides and brings peace; for it is Jesus alone who saves us from the snares of sin, death, fear and sadness.”
Why God depends on us, wondered the Archbishop. God’s way of acting may seem very different. We are called to choose His way- the way of service, of giving, of sharing, of love, of kindness and of mercy. We should store and keep these words of Jesus in our ears and hearts and lead those gone astray into the path Jesus has shown. Jesus invites us to walk on his path. Let us turn our faces to Him, let us ask for the grace to understand something of the mystery of this Week.
Jesus would have chosen the best of that time in the form of a colt. When the disciples asked for the colt, they allowed and responded to the master’s need. He chose a young animal, an ass or a colt which is considered a humble animal. Jesus entered Jerusalem temple to redeem us. “He needs it” to enter our houses to redeem us. Jesus tells each one of us I need you and that is what he, the master needed. Because he loves the whole world he needs all of us.
Jesus said to his disciples to go to the ends of the world to proclaim the good news and to testify the truth. Jesus’ instruction to the disciples is relevant even today. Let us respond to his call without any hesitation. This is why ‘the Lord needs you.’We are the Church.The Lord is in need of us. We need to be witnesses. Let us pray on this Palm Sunday that Jesus enters the houses and hearts of everyone. Archbishop Moras exhorted all to stand by the Church, Bishops and priests. He said, “The Church is yours and if the Church (Archdiocese) faces any problems, it is yours as well.”
Archbishop Moras imparted his special blessings and Easter greetings (Joy of Easter) to all present in advance.
Those concelebrated the Eucharist included Fr Jacob Britto, Spiritual Director, Bangalore Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (BCCRS), Fr Praveen and Fr Anthony Mahendran G, Secretary to Archbishop.
Prior to the procession, Fr Britto concluded the praise and worship giving the Eucharistic blessings. He also spoke on the occasion, presenting a brief description about the whole programme of forty days. He thanked all concerned including the Archbishop.
Earlier, Br Cherian Ramapuram, chairman, BCCRS, recounted how the entire forty-day programme went on and who all were involved in it and took active part in it. He said about 600 religious Sisters and 700 lay persons participated. The preachers were both priests and lay persons. He thanked the Bridgettine Convent, the superiors and the inmates besides all other Associations, Teams, Organizations and Women Religious Congregations.
Ms Irine and Br Babu presented their testimonies and miracles reported during the forty-day duration. Br Paricho Prabhu shared his concern of the persecution of the Church and Christian communities in different parts of the country and outside. He has also announced future programmes and plan of action to create awareness among Christians of all denominations.
What is Palm Sunday?
The day is called ‘Palm Sunday’ because the people of Jerusalem threw palm leaves to the floor as a greeting when Jesus arrived.
Palm Sunday is always the Sunday before Easter and is also the final day of lent.
Back in 5BC-AD33, palm leaves and branches were a sign of homage and thrown before people of great respect. The people also threw down their cloaks and clothes.
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a humble donkey as a symbol of peace – whereas if he had stridden in on a horse, often used in battle, he could have been seen as a warmonger.
So how does Palm Sunday get its name?
The name Palm Sunday comes from the tradition for worshippers being given palm fronds which they use to participate in the reenactment of Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem.
Palm branches are a widely recognized symbol of peace and victory, and in Biblical times, they were often thrown before the feet of a conquering hero in homage. When Jesus arrived in the Holy City, the Gospel writers said the crowds threw palm branches and clothes at his feet to honour him.
It had been predicted in the Old Testament that people would recognize the Messiah when he rode into the city, and they would then lay palms at his feet.
by C V Joseph