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Sunday, April 10, 2022, is Palm Sunday — also called Passion Sunday — the day that Christians commemorate the entrance of Jesus into the holy city of Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion. As described in the Bible, palm leaves and clothes were laid down as a path for Jesus as he arrived by donkey.
Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week, the liturgical remembrance of the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
Jesus was greeted with the chants, “Hosanna in the highest,” and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
The solemn entrance of the Lord was a “fulfillment of ancient prophecy” and a “declaration that Christ was the long-awaited anointed savior,” Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, pastor of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Indian Land, South Carolina, and adjunct professor at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, shared with Fox News Digital by email.
“The Lord’s presence in the holy city ignited a festive rejoicing,” said Kirby, who was appointed by Pope Francis as a Papal Missionary of Mercy.
Fr. Kirby said Jesus was greeted with the chants, “Hosanna in the highest,” and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
The crowd threw their clothing and palms at the Lord’s feet, recognizing “his glory and majesty as the son of God,” noted Kirby.
Palm Sunday’s vocal expression was “peculiar,” said Kirby.
He explained that throughout Jesus’ three-year public ministry, he observed what is called the “‘messianic secret’ — he instructed people not to tell others who he was, not yet.”
“Palm Sunday is a celebration of truth. It is a summons to all believers and people of goodwill to speak the truth to power, to society and to one another.”
The reason for the messianic secret? The more people who learned who he actually was, the more “limited” Christ would be in terms of reaching other towns and villages and “announc[ing] the good news,” noted Kirby.
Christ wanted his identity to be “veiled” for a time, he explained.
In contrast, upon his entry into Jerusalem, “the Lord Jesus permitted highly charged hosannas to be sung for him and for regal acts of devotion to be given to him as he entered the city,” said Kirby. “The religious elders of his day were very unsettled by this state of affairs, and told the Lord to stop the chants and devotion.”
These elders “feared the truth,” said Fr. Kirby — the reality that “the anointed savior had come.”
They were also “concerned about the reaction of the Roman authorities who occupied the holy land at the time,” he explained.
Kirby continued, “In response to their request, however, the Lord announced that if his disciples were silent, then the very stones of Jerusalem would cry out that the anointed savior had come.”
“The Lord was aware of the consequences of speaking the truth and he accepted them all. Love speaks truth.”
In this way, explained Kirby, “Palm Sunday is a celebration of truth. It is a summons to all believers and people of goodwill to speak the truth to power, to society and to one another.”
Kirby said that Christ’s “bold declaration” that the anointed savior had come “opens the door to the declaration of every other truth” today — especially those that “directly affect the spiritual and moral health of the human family.”
“In our day, we are called to speak the truth in love,” he said.
“In the spirit of Palm Sunday, we cannot remain silent. We look at our world and must announce forgotten truths,” added Fr. Kirby, “especially the personhood of the unborn, the reality of two genders, the sacredness of marriage, the dignity of motherhood as a natural right of biological women, the perseveration of the innocence of children, the fundamental importance of parental rights, the value of justice in opposition to Critical Race Theory — the list goes on.”
The Lord Jesus “courageously” announced truth and “the crowd cried out, ‘Hosanna,’” said Kirby. “Just a few days later, another crowd cried out, ‘Crucify him!’”
“The Lord was aware of the consequences of speaking the truth and he accepted them all,” Kirby said. “Love speaks truth.”
Jesus’ holy example is relevant today.
“We are called to imitate the Lord Jesus and speak the truth,” Fr. Kirby said.
“We cannot allow fear to silence us or cowardice to restrain us,” he said. “Truth changes the world by being lived and spoken. Truth unleashes love and allows for the birth of greater things.”
“We see that uniquely on Palm Sunday in the testimony of the Lord Jesus,” said Fr. Kirby.
“If we allow it, we can see that truth reflected every single day of our lives.”