Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, whose liturgy celebrates the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, riding a donkey (the symbol of humility), which is acclaimed by the simple people. People applauded Him as “He who comes in the name of the Lord”; these same people who saw Him resurrect Lazarus of Bethany, a few days before, were amazed and were sure that this was the Messiah announced by the prophets. However, they seemed to be mistaken in the type of Messiah the Lord was. They thought he was a political Messiah, a social liberator, who was going to pull Israel out of the clutches of Rome and give them back the heyday of David and Solomon.
To make it clear to these people that He was not a temporal and political Messiah, an ephemeral deliverer, but the great deliverer of sin, the root of all evil, Christ entered the great city, the Jerusalem of the patriarchs and the sacred kings, mounted on a donkey; expression of earthly smallness, for He is not a king of this world!
Thus, Palm Sunday is the beginning of the week that mixes the cries of “Hosanna” with the cries of the Passion of Christ. The people welcomed Jesus by fanning his branches of olive and palm trees. The branches signify victory: “Hosanna to the Son of David: blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel; hosanna in the heights ”. Hosanna means “save us!”
The sacred branches that we take to our homes, after Holy Mass [Palm Sunday], remind us that we are united to Christ in the same struggle for the salvation of the world, the arduous struggle against sin, a path towards Calvary , but that will come to the Resurrection.
The meaning of the Ramos Procession is to show this pilgrimage on earth that each Christian makes on the way to eternal life with God. It reminds us that we are just pilgrims in this world so fleeting, so transitory, that it is spent so quickly. Show us that our homeland is not in this world, but in eternity, that here we live only in rapid exile in search of the Father’s house.
Jesus’ “solemn” entry into Jerusalem was a prelude to His pain and humiliation. That same crowd that honored Him, motivated by His miracles, now turns their backs on Him and many ask for His death. Jesus, who knew the hearts of men, was not deluded. How false in the attitudes of certain people! How many lessons that day [Palm Sunday] leaves us!
The Master teaches us with facts and examples that His Kingdom, in fact, is not of this world. That he did not come to bring down Caesar and Pilate, but to bring down a far worse and invisible enemy, sin.
The Lord has disappointed many; they thought that He would drive Pilate out and redeploy David and Solomon’s kingdom in Israel; but He is riding on a fragile and poor donkey. “What Messiah is this? What liberator is this? It’s a scam! He is a deceiver and deserves the cross for having deceived us ”, they thought. Perhaps Judas was the big disappointed.
Palm Sunday teaches us that the struggle of Christ and the Church, and consequently ours too, is the struggle against sin, disobedience to the sacred Law of God, which today is trampled on by even many Christians who they prefer to live a “light” Christianity, adapted to their tastes and interests and according to their conveniences. The dictatorship of relativism prevails, as Benedict XVI said.