Palm Sunday: From Triumph To Tragedy

Palm Sunday: From Triumph To Tragedy

Palm Sunday begins Holy Week. The scripture readings of Palm Sunday show how quickly people can change their minds. We see how triumph can turn to tragedy, how adulation can turn to condemnation, and how a coronation can quickly become a crucifixion.

At the first Gospel reading, we hear the story of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. Jesus is hailed as a hero, a messiah, a king. He can do no wrong. Everyone loves him. In the Passion narrative, he is condemned as a criminal, treated like a pariah, abandoned by his friends and finally dies in a horrific way.

When we are tempted to feel sorry for ourselves because we aren’t popular enough or because we feel ignored, remember Palm Sunday: people are fickle; they change their minds. What is “hot” today is thrown out tomorrow. What is the “in thing” today becomes yesterday’s news.

As we enter into Holy Week, we might consider re-reading the Passion account as a reminder that the world can be a very unfriendly place. But like Jesus, we need to hang onto our relationship with God as the anchor that grounds us in reality and prevents us with going with the flow of popular opinion. May the Passion challenge us to hope for a better world and lead us to seek after what is truly holy, just and true.

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Written by
Msgr John Kasza