Today our churches will most likely have more bodies in the pews than most Sundays, and the cemeteries will have many visitors, as loved ones place palms on headstones. We have the unique experience of observing an event in the life of Jesus that at first appears joyous, but in reality is very sorrowful. He, himself, chose the donkey on which he would ride as the crowds affirmed him, he entered into a happening which was a contradiction to the conclusion of his earthly life. The praise would be short lived, and our joyful entrance into the church after our palms are blessed will soon find us contrite and saddened.
On Passion Sunday we receive two tangible objects to take home with us: the palm and the Body of Christ. We have been doing this for years now, so how do we keep the tradition alive?
A PALM SUNDAY PRAYER
Jesus, this blest palm is mine now to be placed around your crucified body in my home. May it and the Eucharist I receive be a daily reminder of your life in me. The palm tree does not shed, sometimes it gets knocked around in strong winds. May I not shed any occasion to keep you alive in me and in others, and may I know that the strong winds in my life will soon subside, and my faith in you will keep my journey to Jerusalem on course. This palm is flexible. May I always lean toward what is the good I should choose when I waiver in making decisions.
Palms are brought into the world, and yellow as they age. May I allow myself to be nurtured by your source of life, and be aware of your presence when illness or threatening events change my appearance.
Spend time with your palm today, and place it where you will be reminded of the joy your faith has brought to your life, before returning it to be changed into the ashes you receive next year.
Sister Dorothy Maxwell, OP