Pastor’s Corner for the Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, Year A, by Rev. Fr. Bruce Botha SJ

There are five things that our celebration of Palm Sunday reminds us of, according to an article in

God’s Word tells us the people cut palm branches, waved them in the air, and laid them out on the ground before Jesus as He rode into the city. The palm branch represented goodness and victory and was symbolic of the final victory He would achieve over death.

Jesus chose to ride in on a donkey, which directly fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of Zechariah. In Biblical times, it was common for kings or important people to arrive by a procession riding on a donkey. The donkey symbolized peace, so those who chose to ride them showed that they came with peaceful intentions. Jesus even then reminded us that He is the Prince of Peace.

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zech. 9:9

When the people shouted “Hosanna!” they were hailing Christ as King. That word actually means “save now,” and though in their own minds, they waited for an earthly king, God had a different way of bringing true salvation to all who would trust in Him.

The Bible says that Jesus wept for Jerusalem. Amid the praise of the moment, He knew in His heart that it wouldn’t be long that these same people would turn their backs on Him, betray Him, and crucify Him. His heart broke with the reality of how much they needed a Saviour.

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it, and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42

Palm Sunday reminds us that the reign of Christ is far greater than any man’s mind could ever conceive or plan. Man looked for someone to fight their battles in the present day world. Yet God had the ultimate plan of sending His Son to fight the final battle over death. This is the greatness of why we celebrate this week. Because of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, we can be set free of death.

 What the article does not touch on is the connection between the events of Palm Sunday and the Passion, and how the same crowds that acclaimed Christ also called for his crucifixion. While the purpose of passion week is not to flagellate ourselves because of our sinfulness, or to guilt us into feeling bad about ourselves, it is useful reminder of the fickleness of the human heart, and the need for us to continually recommit ourselves to Christ.