Palm Sunday: Year A

The Liturgy of the Palms

  • Matthew 21:1-11

The Liturgy of the Word

  • Isaiah 50:4-9a
  • Psalm 31:9-16
  • Philippians 2:5-11
  • The Passion from Matthew 26: 14-27:66 or 27:11-54

In fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Crowds of people spread their cloaks in the road and cut branches from trees to spread in his path. The people shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David,” and other cries of praise and blessing.

The tension between suffering and glorious triumph is set immediately before us on Palm Sunday. Today’s hosannas ring out even as a sense of foreboding grows. Jesus enters Jerusalem proclaimed as a king, riding toward a destiny of suffering and death amid the shouts of those who soon will turn against him.

A Congregational Response:

Who is this riding among us? Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of God. Hosanna, may his Way be victorious.

Who is this riding the animal of peace? Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth.

Blessed be the freedom he brings. Hosanna, may his Way be victorious.

Who is this carrying the palm of peace? Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth.

Blessed be our leader, the Prince of peace. Hosanna, may his Way be victorious.

Who is this that destroys the weapon of war? Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of God. Hosanna, may his Way be victorious.

Who is this that frees the oppressed from prison? Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth.

Blessed is he who releases all captives. Hosanna, may his Way be victorious.

Who is this that makes wars to cease in all the world? Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth.

Blessed is he who restores the Paradise of Eden. Hosanna, may his Way be victorious.

(Taken from “The Covenant of Peace – A Liberation Prayer” found in Imaging the Word: An Arts and Lectionary Resource, Volume 2 – 1995: United Church Press)

This moment of triumph ends quickly as the Liturgy moves to the Passion and the cries of “Hosanna!” become “Crucify him!” The Old Testament and Epistle readings further illuminate the themes of the entry into Jerusalem and set the stage for the Passion itself.

As we read the Passion from Matthew (for Year A), we see the life and death of Jesus as taking place in fulfillment of the Scriptures and in accordance with God’s plan for salvation of the world. Throughout his ministry, and especially at his Passion, the life of Jesus has reflected the words from the Psalm for today: “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, you are my God.”

Questions for reflection:

  • As you read the Gospel lesson for the Liturgy of the Palms  in Matthew 21:1-11, try to imagine the scene as Jesus enters Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week. What kinds of persons today receive similar “red carpet” treatment? What do these choices tell us about the values of our culture?
  • As you listen to the Passion story, choose one of the characters in this drama and imagine the event through his or her eyes. What added insights do you have about what happened?
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About Sharon Ely Pearson

Editor and Christian Formation Specialist for Church Publishing Incorporated
This entry was posted in Feast Days, Holy Week and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Palm Sunday: Year A

  1. Pingback: Stuff Catholics Like: Palm Sunday « After the Ecstasy, the Laundry . . .

  2. Pingback: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! | Bible Aid

  3. Pingback: 4/13/2014 Hosanna! | ForeWords

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