Skip to comments.HOSANNA (PALM) SUNDAY - March 24, 2013 (Vanity) [Catholic Caucus]
Posted on 03/23/2013 3:17:11 PM PDT by NYer
On the next day, when the great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm branches and went out to meet him, and cried out: "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, (even) the king of Israel." Jesus found an ass and sat upon it, as is written: "Fear no more, O daughter Zion; see, your king comes, seated upon an ass's colt." His disciples did not understand this at first, but when Jesus had been glorified they remembered that these things were written about him and that they had done this for him. So the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from death continued to testify. This was (also) why the crowd went to meet him, because they heard that he had done this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, "You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the whole world has gone after him." Now there were some Greeks among those who had come up to worship at the feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we would like to see Jesus." Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. This is the Truth. Peace be with you.
As a Roman Catholic, I am intimately familiar with the Gospel readings on Palm Sunday. They begin with LK 19:28-40, which relates the joyous entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Palms are distributed and the mood is very festive. But the readings do not end there. They continue with IS 50:4-7, PS 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24, PHIL 2:6-11 and conclude with the passion narrative in LK 22:1423:56.
Even as a child, I abhorred the point in the passion narrative when the congregation was asked to play the crowd and shout "Crucify hin!" I could never get those words out of my mouth. I simply accepted that this was how the Catholic Church celebrated Palm Sunday.
My first experience with celebrating Palm Sunday in the Maronite Catholic Church was radically different. Like so many Catholic Churches, ours was packed to overflowing. I was immediately struck by the way parishioners came dressed, wearing their Easter finery, especially the children. Little girls wore beautiful gowns and boys, even infants, sported 3 piece suits. All the children carried unlit pillar candles, festively decorated with ribbons, flowers and other symbols of the season. After reading John's Gospel narrative, palms and olive branches were blessed and distributed. The priest, holding an incenser, led everyone in a procession outside and around the church while we sang a beautiful and joyous hymn. Back inside the church, we continued with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
No reading of the Passion! This was a day for joy and celebration. After mass, families gathered to celebrate the happy event. We all understood that this was the day on which Christ made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem and that those who shouted "Hosanna", would be shouting "Crucify Him!" on Friday.
In the Maronite Church, Hosanna Sunday marks the end of Lent. Holy Week is a separate season. On Monday evening, we will celebrate the "Rite of the Coming to the Harbor", on Wednesday the "Blessing of Oil for the sick", on Thursday the "Thursday of the Mysteries" (Washing of the Feet and Institution of the Mass), on "Great Friday of the Crucifixion", we will gather as a community for a meatless meal. Afterwards, we will go into the church for Adoration of the cross & Burial of the Lord. Women and children will bring flowers to place on the shroud. We will hear 3 Gospel accounts of the events that took place on that day. The shroud, bearing the corpus removed from the crucifix, will be carried by the men of the parish in procession, incensed by the priest and around the church 3 times. It will then be buried, along with the flowers, in a tomb constructed by one of the parish members. After chanting the Sorrowful Hymn of the Blessed Mother, we will depart in silence.
All that I have described above makes perfect sense to me. I have asked several RC and Maronite priests why the Latin Church reads the passion narrative on Palm Sunday - a day of joy - yet no one has been able to answer that question. Perhaps one of you can shed some light on this.
Hoping at least one of you can resolve this conundrum, ping!
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If you want a more extensive or detailed answer, I bet Father Mitch Pacwa could provide some kind of more extensive explanation for that. You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(If he doesn't use that question on the "Threshold of Hope" show on EWTN, he might still send a response to you through email.)
Since Fr. Mitch Pacwa celebrates the Mass in both the Latin Rite and the Maronite Rite, he may be able to give you more insights into those questions.
I think before my time, Passion Sunday and Palm Sunday were celebrated on two different Sundays. Someone recently asked this question on Fr. John Trigilio’s show on ewtn.
By G. K. Chesterton
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devils walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.
We will hear all 4 Gospels read on Great Friday of the Crucifixion.
The Maronite service you describe sounds wonderful. I wish I could find a Maronite church to attend around here. I love the RC Church but long for more of the old ways.
You could also look for a Tridentine Mass.