Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion Reflection by Colleen Quigley

Lenten Reflections to support your spiritual journey over these forty days – brought to you 
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Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion Reflection

by Colleen Quigley, former volunteer with Salesian Lay Missioners

“Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
(Mark 14:1-15:47)

In the Palm Sunday liturgy, we see the highs and the lows of Jesus’ ministry. Knowing what is to come next, I’ve always found myself anxious when reading of Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. We begin with joyful proclamations of “Hosanna in the highest!” and later in the Gospel reading find ourselves shouting along with the crowd “Crucify him! Crucify him!” It can feel strange to encounter the disparity between these moments in Jesus’ life.

The school that I served at in Cambodia has about a thousand students. Each day we would hear stories from their lives – both the good and the bad. Sitting around the table at meals with the Sisters, we would recount what we had been told by our students, teachers, and staff. They would bring the joyful news of the birth of a new baby, weddings, the building of a new home, and opportunities to study, work, or improve their lives. We would be invited into their homes, their celebrations, and to share in their joys. But they would also often bring news of sickness and death, broken relationships, and challenges and injustices. Then we would be invited to pray for them, to comfort them, and to share in their pain. All of these stories would be told around the table.

Just as the Palm Sunday liturgy and readings require us to confront and be present to the highs and lows of Jesus’ ministry and life, we are called to accompany people on their everyday lives but also through the great moments of celebration and the difficult moments of pain. It is in this accompaniment that we are able to find our place amidst the tension of the joy and suffering in the world.

Focus on: Social Justice
On Palm Sunday, we see the power of a crowd – first joyfully greeting Jesus as he triumphantly enters into Jerusalem and then watching as he carries his cross to his crucifixion. In a crowd, it is often easy to go along with what the others are doing or feel powerless and unable to fight injustices alone. We can feel this way in society as well. What social justice issues have you been waiting for someone to speak out about first? What are ways that you can use your voice to serve those who are suffering?

Ever-present God, help us to remain present as we walk with our brothers and sisters in the crowd in times of joy and celebration and in times of pain and sorrow. Grant us the voice to speak out against injustices but also the voice to praise and to comfort. May we always know that you are accompanying us. Amen.

Service Suggestion:
Use your voice to speak out against the crowd! Spend some time in reflection on where you see injustice in your life and in the world. Once you have identified a cause, find ways that you can speak out about it: a post on social media, calling your local government officials, educating those around you, or even volunteering and inviting others to do so with you.

About the Author:
Colleen is originally from outside of Philadelphia. After graduating from The Catholic University of America in 2015, she spent a year serving as a Salesian Lay Missioner in Phnom Penh, Cambodia teaching at a vocational school for girls. She is currently a graduate student at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and works with undergraduate students in the international immersion program.

Looking for more reflections like this one? We invite you to download our Lenten Reflection Guide in its entirety, available by clicking here. You can find an extensive library of Lenten resources by visiting the Catholic Apostolate Center website – click here.

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