It was a huge celebration for Catholics around the world and most especially in Nigeria as they mark this year’s Palm Sunday in joy and thanksgiving.
It is the Sunday before Easter, and it commemorates the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem before his arrest on Holy Thursday and his crucifixion on Good Friday. It marks the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent. This is recorded in all four of the Gospels (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-38; and John 12:12-18).
Palm Sunday is an occasion for reflecting on the final week of Jesus’ life. It is a time for Christians to prepare their hearts for the agony of His Passion and the joy of His Resurrection.
It begins with the blessing of the palms, followed by a procession and later mass, in which the Passion and the Benediction are sung. Many Catholics make crosses with their palm branches, keep them and take them home after church. In the countries where palm trees are not too common, branches of yew, willow, and sallow trees are used.
At Saints Anne’s Catholic Church, Itire, Lagos, Nigeria, the Parish priest, Rev. Father, Sebastian Ukwandu urged Catholics to embrace the spirit of Palm Sunday as they march their way to salvation on Easter Sunday.
“Palm Sunday gives us [Catholics] the opportunity to join in the triumphant entry, suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Without Christ’s death on the cross, we Christians may not have experienced salvation. But the most important thing is that, we must learn to carry our cross” said the Reverend.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Rev. Adewale Martins on Sunday urged Christians to live peaceful and humble lives as taught by Jesus Christ’s symbolic entry into Jerusalem.
Martins made the appeal while delivering a sermon at the Holy Cross Cathedral in Obalende, Lagos, to celebrate this year’s Palm Sunday.
Martins said that Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem as the Prince of Peace and not a war-waging king.
“Palm Sunday is marked with the distribution of palm leaves, often tied into crosses to the assembled worshippers. Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a donkey is depicted in an early 1900’s Bible card illustration. The church re-enacts or celebrates Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem to accomplish His paschal mystery. Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem was recorded in the four gospels. The celebrating people spread their cloaks on the road while others cut branches from palm trees and spread them on the road,’’ he explained.