PALM SUNDAY: THE BEGINNING OF HOLY WEEK
GOSPEL. MATT, xxi, 1-9.
(The Triumphant Entry of Jesus and His Fifth Word on the Cross.)
At that time: When Jesus drew nigh to Jerusalem, and was come to Bethphage, unto Mt. Olivet: then He sent two disciples, saying to them: Go ye into the village that is over against you, and immediately ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them to Me: and if any man shall say anything to you, say ye that the Lord hath need of them, and forthwith he will let them go. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold thy King cometh to thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt, the foal of her that is used to the yoke. And the disciples going, did as Jesus commanded them. And they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made Him sit thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way: and others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way: and the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the Son of David! blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Today, at the beginning of Holy Week, there is a procession with blessed palms in remembrance of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The holy gospel vividly describes this event. Our divine Savior knows, however, that these same people who now exclaim Hosanna will in three days cry out: "Crucify Him." But He is not satisfied with the outward splendor of His reception; He de sires also admission into the hearts of men, as is touchingly symbolized by the three knocks on the door of the Church with the staff of the processional cross. Behold the same Savior on the cross, Christian soul; His countenance is pale as death, His eyes are dim and troubled, His lips are dry, and He exclaims: "I thirst." Certainly the bodily thirst of the Redeemer was excessive and painful; but He thirsted more for the winning of souls for heaven, for tears of contrition from sinners, the fear of God from the lukewarm, humility from the proud, modesty from the shameless, abstinence from the intemperate, greater honor and glory to His heavenly Father from all men. All this He requires of you too, O Christian soul, and, since without the grace of God you can do nothing, He has taught you to pray: "Give us this day our daily bread." Oh, do not refuse to give your soul to your Savior, Who is the Bread of Life, by the frequent and worthy reception of the Blessed Eucharist, the institution of which is celebrated on Holy Thursday.
LET US PRAY.
O almighty and eternal God, Who wouldst have our Savior take flesh and undergo the cross, for man to imitate the example of His humility; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may both imitate His patience and deserve to become partakers of the glory of the resurrection.
Through Thy meritorious thirst on the cross, grant us, O Jesus, daily refreshment of body and soul, and after this life a joyous entrance into Thy eternal glory. Amen.