Recently, a friend sent me a video clip of a story on WhatsApp on which I would like to base my reflection on the significance of Palm Sunday.  Here goes the story.

There was a workman and this workman was leaving the factory after the day’s work, and he was pushing a wheelbarrow out of the factory. Inside the wheelbarrow, there was a very small package. He’s stopped by a security guard, the security guard says, “what have you got in your wheelbarrow?” He says, “well I have got a small box.” The security guard says, “I can see it’s a small box. What have you got in it?” He says, “well, you know the sawdust that’s on the floor at the end of a working day? Well, it’s swept up and it’s thrown away. I needed some, so I put it in a box and I’m going to take it home.” The security guard says, “open your box.” He opens the box, sawdust!  He says, “out you go”. The second day, the same thing. On the third day, the same thing. On the fourth day, the same thing. On the fifth day, he was pushing out his wheelbarrow and inside the wheelbarrow, there was a small box. It is the same security guard. The guard says, “It’s you again. What do you have in your wheelbarrow?”  He says, “well I’ve got the same as I had the other four days…. sawdust.” The security guard says, “well open it”. He opens it, it was sawdust.  The security guard says, “I’ve just got this feeling that you’re stealing something. I just got that feeling.” “Look”, he says, “why don’t you tell me what you are stealing and I promise I won’t report you.” The man says, “All right then, I’m stealing the wheelbarrow.”

As we celebrate Palm Sunday, and walk with Jesus closely during the Holy Week, you and I can easily be so preoccupied with a small package in the wheelbarrow, the beautiful dinner, routines, small rituals, symbols, excitement, etc… and miss the BIG PICTURE.  Why is Palm Sunday so a special feast for us Christians?  What is the most significant message of this day for us? What is the BIG PICTURE of Palm Sunday that we need to pay attention to, be intentional about as we pray and celebrate? 

Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter Sunday and marks the start of Holy Week. On Palm Sunday we have a very long Gospel reading that takes us through the passion and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  We celebrate Palm Sunday with very many symbols – many readings, a procession, jubilation expressed through waving palm leaves, singing famous traditional hymns, priests wearing dazzling red colours, etc….. The Gospel reading mentions Jesus sitting on a donkey as he enters Jerusalem; crowds of people waiting for him in great excitement; the road where he rides is decorated with their garments.  There are many other graphic images and symbols.  After the celebration of Palm Sunday, Christians carry the blessed palms back home, some leave them in the Church for making ashes, which will be used the following year on Ash Wednesday. 

Why all this pomp? What is behind all this? What is THE BIG PICTURE of the Palm Sunday story that we can easily miss out like the security guard? Luckily, the security guard, steps back, reflects, and is able to ask the right question. The truth is revealed. Let us borrow a leaf from him. 

Who is Jesus of the Palm Sunday for me? 

Which of the people in the Gospel passage do I identify with easily and Why?

Can I call to mind some vivid memory, something tangible in my life story, or a symbol that serves as a reminder of the power of God in my life; the marvels God has done in my life through Jesus Christ?  This can be a cause to celebrate Palm Sunday intimately with Jesus!!

Are there situations in my life where I have welcomed Jesus in my heart with excitement/jubilation and in no time, I have turned against him? – For example, I could go for personal prayer for long hours, a retreat, or some kind of fellowship with mystical experiences, but coming out of that intensive and most exciting moment with Jesus, I become the least generous and uncharitable person. I gossip. I speak ill of others. I tell lies. I deny one, and reject another, etc…. Sometimes we can practice religious syncretism, which without knowing weakens our faith in Jesus and we deny him unconsciously. 

As we celebrate Palm Sunday, we are reminded to go beyond religious symbols, routines, rituals, and to dive deeper into our interior life, and in the life of Jesus to grasp the BIG PICTURE of his mission, and his invitation for us to participate in discovering and making known the mystery of God’s love for us and the entire cosmos. 

Let us welcome Jesus into our hearts with unwavering hearts and follow him with ready hearts. Are we willing and ready to follow Jesus all the way to the cross and to rise with him in our daily ordinary lives?

Elizabeth Nakayiza, RSCJ

4 thoughts on “PALM SUNDAY”

  1. Thank for the reflection it has enriched me spiritually and open my mind to go beyond what I see. and be ready to welcome Jesus both in time of suffering and joy of rising, Jesus may find in my heart a dwelling place.Amen

  2. Thank you Betty for sharing your thoughts about palm Sunday. Indeed may the Lord give each one of us the grace to walk with Him not as spectators but participants. God bless

  3. The 1st Reflection is a very good reflection for me.It has many lessons to learn in life. The lesson that has helped me is to tell the truth at all cost in order to be a free person.
    Thanks .
    Rose rscj


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