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Today, the church celebrates both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday.   Holy Week is the holiest time of the Christian faith.  During this Holy Week, we are journeying with Jesus, we welcome Jesus into our lives, and we are participating in Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection.  Proper participation in the Holy Week liturgy will deepen our faith and intimate relationships with Jesus.

The Passion Sunday liturgy combines contrasting moments of glory and moments of suffering.  It is the same crowd of people of Jerusalem, who shouted “Hosanna. Hosanna!”  After a few days, it turned to shouting “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.”  We hear two important realities of our lives: love and suffering.

When Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem the cheers from the crowd were replaced by shouting and calls for crucifixion.  Just a few days later, Jesus and His disciples gathered for the celebration of the Passover meal but the disciples were arguing over who was the greatest. Then Peter denied Jesus three times, Judas betrayed Jesus, King Herod had contempt for Jesus, and Pilate handed over Jesus to the crowd.  But, the good news is that during His suffering and terrible pain, Jesus showed compassion and forgiveness to those who crucified Him and this best action shows Jesus’ unconditional love for each of us.  During this holy week, we are celebrating Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross that leads to The Resurrection of Jesus.

Today’s solemn feast challenges each of us by asking these questions:  Do we welcome Jesus into our hearts?  Are we ready to surrender our lives to Jesus during this Holy Week?  Are we ready to sing “Hosanna” and welcome Jesus into our lives?   The palms remind us that Christ is the King of our families, Christ is the King our hearts, and Christ is the only true answer to our journeys for happiness and meaning in our lives.  Let us greet Jesus, not only with olive branches but also with our good deeds of love, mercy, and forgiveness towards our brothers and sisters!