Holy Week/Palm Sunday


Holy Week is the final week of Lent and commemorates the events of our Lord’s last week before His death.  The chief festivals of Holy Week are Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil (Holy Saturday).  Holy Week, together with Easter, is the most sacred part of the Christian calendar — the celebration of the death and resurrection Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.


Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter.  On this day, Jesus, accompanied by His disciples, entered the city of Jerusalem in triumph (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-44; and John 12:12-19).  An enthusiastic crowd greeted Jesus by spreading palm branches along the road and shouting Hosanna, a Hebrew expression meaning “save us.”  The throng hailed Jesus as the “Son of David,” the Messiah promised long ago by God.  Services on Palm Sunday traditionally begin with a joyful procession into the sanctuary.  Worshipers often carry palm leaves or wear crosses made of palm.

Palm Sunday is sometimes called the Sunday of the Passion because our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem marked the beginning of His great and final humiliation — His suffering and brutal death on the cross to atone for the sins of the world.  When Palm Sunday is observed as the Sunday of the Passion, worship services traditionally feature the reading of the entire passion narrative from one of the synoptic gospels (Matthew 26:14-27:66; Mark 14:1-15:47; and Luke 22:1-23:56).  The passion account from the gospel of John is customarily reserved for Good Friday).  The reading of this long text is often divided into parts and separated by hymn responses or short homilies.