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THE ENTRY OF JESUS INTO JERUSALEM (PALM SUNDAY)
FEAST DAY: 6th Sunday of Lent - 1 week before Easter
ICON: Jesus is the main figure, seated humbly on a colt (foal of a donkey) as He enters Jerusalem. It is symbolic that Jesus rides a donkey for His triumphant entry to the city. A donkey was considered unclean and held in disdain. So, Jesus was sending a clear message that the new covenant that will come through His death and resurrection, welcomes all people from every race and every language spoken throughout the world.
Jesus is blessing the crowd with His right hand, and in His left hand is a scroll, the symbol that He is here to fulfil the prophesies of the Old Testament―He is the Messiah, who has come to redeem us.
The Apostles accompany Jesus. In front of Jesus are the Jews who greet Him. The children also gather, they lay palm branches and their clothes on the ground before Him as tokens of honour worthy of a King. The city of Jerusalem is the walled buildings, and the Temple is the building with the dome.
On Palm Sunday, we commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. A few days earlier he performed the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead and it is only a few days before His passion. Palm Sunday is one of the Church’s greatest feasts because we join in welcoming Jesus as the One who comes in the name of the Lord, the Saviour. He is glorified with the title, Son of David.
The crowd filled with children have anticipated His arrival and they have heard of the miracle, so they stream into the street to welcome Him with honour and shouts of praise. He arrives “humble and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Matthew 21:9). They cry out “Hosanna to the Son of David!”. Each year on Palm Sunday, we too receive and worship Jesus in the same way, acknowledging Him as our King and Saviour.
Today, from every corner of the Middle East and the rest of the world, Palm Sunday is celebrated as a feast for children. St Matthew’s Gospel delights in the participation of children,
“When the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He did and the children crying out in the Temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ they were indignant and said to Him, ‘Do you hear what these are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes, have you never read ‘Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise?’” (Matthew 21:15-16).
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