Palm Sunday – 2004
Fr. Shannon M. Collins
All the ceremonies of Palm Sunday — the blessings of the palms, the procession, and the sung Hosannas, are instituted by Holy Mother Church to recall that triumphant entrance of Christ into Jerusalem on that day. He is truly the King of Kings and Lord of Lords Who is deserving not only of these holy palms being placed before Him in praise, but of our hearts and minds submitting to His Holy Rule and His Most Sweet Yoke. But know that within a few days these Hosannas were replaced by blasphemies and insults — give us Barabbas — crucify Him… — from palm branches to whips and cat-o-nine tails — from being placed on a beast of burden to being thrown down upon a Cross — from garments being laid before His path to His garments being divided and lots being cast for His vesture — from being hailed as king to being crucified as a slave — we have no king but Caesar.
In the Old Mass or the Old Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church a very symbolic thing was done during the procession. The priest, deacon, altar boys, and the people would march towards the Church with their branches. When they came to the front doors of the temple, they found them closed while angelic hymns were heard from within. The Cross bearer would then knock against the doors of the Church with the bottom of the processional cross. Yes, open these doors. O gates, lift high your heads grow higher ancient doors. Let Him enter, the King of Glory.
You see, the procession of Christ into the Old Jerusalem is really a symbolic entrance into the heavenly Jerusalem. For thousands of years, the gates of heaven were closed to the human race after the fall of Adam. Only a New Adam could open what was closed. Christ is the one and only Savior of the human race. God has destined us for acquiring salvation through our Lord, Jesus Christ — there is no other name given to men under heaven than that of Jesus by which we are to be saved — I am the Way, He stated, and no one, no one comes to the Father but through Me. Christ is the one and only Shepherd that can lead the flock to the verdant pastures. He is the one and only General Who can lead the troops through the Arch of Triumph. He is the one and only Physician Who can heal fallen man.
But the doors, the gates of heaven would only be opened by the key of His Cross. Only by striking against those doors with the Holy Wood of the Cross could they be thrown open. As we enter into the most Holy Week in the Church’s calendar, let us who honor our King and Lord today, not reject Him on Good Friday. Let us as members of the New Israel, the People of God which is the Catholic Church, not reject Him as did the People of God in the Old Testament by enlarge — He came unto His own and His own received Him not. May we who vowed at Baptism to reject Satan and Sin and to embrace Christ and His Holy Cross, live out this commitment until we pass through those same heavenly gates.