The second Sunday of the Passion marks the debut of the last week of Lent, Holy Week.
The Blessing and Processin of Palms revives the spirit of the magnificent scene of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Then follows the Mass whose chants and lessons relate exclusively to the sorrowful memory of our Redeemer’s Passion.
This mixture of joy and sadness manifests the inconstancy of men and the infidelity of the chosen people. On the one hand, there is the glory and honor that goes to the peaceful King who makes His entry into His family, and on the other hand, the betrayal and the unjust condemnation which mark the city’s rejection, soon to be deicide.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldest not? Behold, your house shall be left to you, desolate. For I say to you, you shall not see me henceforth till you say: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Mt. 23:37-39)
At Jerusalem, in the fourth century, on the very spot where the event took place, was read the Gospel narrative, in which we see Christ, hailed as King of Israel and taking possession of His capital, Jerusalem, which is really no more than the type of the heavenly Jerusalem.
After this, a bishop, mounted on a ass, rode up to the Church of the Resurrection on the summit of the Mount of Olives, surrounded by a multitude carrying palms and singing anthems and hymns.
The Church of Rome adopted this practice about the ninth century and added to it the rite for the Blessing of the Palms, which has given this Sunday the name of the Easter of Flowers.
The custom of taking a blessed palm into one's home spread rapidly. It is a sacramental which will obtain for us graces in virtue of the Church’s prayer and strengthens our faith in Christ. Attached to the crucifix, it proclaims our faith in Jesus Christ, victor over sin and death.
This palm is a palm of victory for our King, who made the perfect sacrifice, the only one capable of reconciling men with God by rendering Him all justice.