Palm Sunday - Card. Gracias urges Christians to alleviate suffering, injustice

Cheryl Sanders
April 16, 2019

Various churches yesterday commemorated Palm Sunday, an event which signifies Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem ahead of his Crucifixion.

A few churches led processions with palm leaves followed by special mass. Oswald Cardinal Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, called upon Catholics to alleviate suffering and injustice.

Explaining the significance of Palm Sunday, he said that in the time of Jesus, a soldier riding on a horse meant that he came to conquer, but when the Lord came on a donkey, it meant that he came in peace.

The Pope began Holy Week by blessing palm fronds and olive branches in St Peter's Square before delivering a homily praising Jesus's silence in the face of his trials (Philip Willan writes).

"Joyful acclamations at Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem, followed by his humiliation. This twofold mystery accompanies our entrance into Holy Week each year", he said.

It is christened Palm Sunday because, according to the Gospel, the people placed Palm fronds in Jesus' path and also waved them as they hailed him amid shout of Hosanna, with the expectation that he was the Messiah to restore peace to them.

Francis pointed to the story as a warning to resist triumphalism and remain humble.

Palm Sunday opens the week leading to Easter Sunday, the most important day on the Christian liturgical calendar. Then, cradling a braided palm, he joined a solemn procession to a canopied altar set up outside St. Peter's Basilica.

Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday, is the first day of Holy Week - the last week of Lent which starts on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday.

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