Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion


By Fr. Chris Valka, CSB

Holy Week has begun. Everything is now set in motion: Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem precedes his arrest, which is followed by his trial, which precedes his sentence, which is followed by his torture and death. Everything is connected.

There is a reason we read the Passion in such a dramatic fashion, with several lectors reading the various parts of each character: only when we see the big picture do we begin to feel and see the drama of the tragedy which is highlighted by characters of the story. The innocent Jesus next to the revolutionary Barabbas; the Jewish authorities who mock alongside the Roman solider who respects; the weeping women in the midst of the chaotic crowd; and so on.

Each character read in a different voice allows us to participate in a more profound manner; to ask ourselves how we would react to the events unfolding before us? Sure, we hold palms thinking how wonderful it would have been to welcome Jesus to Jerusalem, but it is more likely that we would have been like the Apostles who fled or even Peter who denied? Or might we have been like the Pharisees who condemn? When we look back at our own life, which character in the Passion are we most closely compared to?

All I ask is that you take time this week to consider such questions, for this week is not like any other. It is a week, when we are changed and defined – perhaps even redefined; but only if we take time to allow ourselves to enter the story.