Bonnie Elberson
Freelance Writer
March 27, 2018 // Local

Joyous faithful celebrate Palm Sunday

Bonnie Elberson
Freelance Writer

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Fort Wayne was filled to overflowing Sunday, March 25, for a Palm Sunday Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades and concelebrated by Father Peter Dee De. Assisting with the Mass were deacons Jay Horning, Patrick Hake and David Huneck, and seated in the nave were members of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher.

Bishop Rhoades initiated the entrance procession by saying: “Since the beginning of Lent we have prepared our hearts …” for Holy Week. The cathedral choir was in full voice as the procession began near the baptismal font at the rear of the church. Bishop blessed the palm fronds held by members of the congregation, then led them up the center aisle, as they took their seats for Mass.

Click here for more photos from the cathedral.

“Today, Palm Sunday, we begin Holy Week with our minds and our hearts lifted up to the Lord, focusing on the great event of our salvation: the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus,” Bishop Rhoades said to his listeners. “I encourage you to take advantage of all the graces of this week, to live these days with special reverence and devotion through prayer and participation in the beautiful liturgies of this week.

“Today we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus entered Jerusalem to undergo His Passion. He was very purposeful about this. He started the procession to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, the place where King David had mounted a donkey when he was fleeing Jerusalem in exile. When David left Jerusalem and went to the Mount of Olives, there were cries of lamentation,” the bishop continued. “Now, on Palm Sunday, we have the king’s return. The new king, the Son of David, the Lord Jesus, also mounts a donkey on the Mount of Olives, not to flee Jerusalem, but to enter Jerusalem. There are no songs of lamentation, rather, there are shouts of jubilation: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David … Hosanna in the highest.’”

Jesus entering Jerusalem mounted on a donkey was a bold announcement that He was the Messiah, the new king Jerusalem had been waiting for, Bishop Rhoades continued. “He was the king who entered the city not on a horse or chariot and not carrying any weapons. He entered meek and riding on a donkey. This was His kingship. He is the new king who will bring peace, not war. This went against the popular view that the Messiah King would be a warrior who would overthrow the Romans and establish a powerful restoration of David’s kingdom. Jesus did, in fact, establish a kingdom, but a kingdom not of this world. He inaugurated the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.”

Bishop Rhoades made reference to the day’s Gospel reading. “In the Passion account from St. Mark’s Gospel today, we heard that five days after entering Jerusalem in triumph, Jesus was put on trial before Pontius Pilate. Pilate asked Jesus about His kingship: ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ the Roman procurator asked Him. Jesus answered affirmatively. Pontius Pilate did not understand the kingship of Jesus. Later, in the praetorium, the soldiers dressed Jesus in a mock royal robe, a scarlet cloak worn by Roman military and high officials like the emperor. They put a crown of thorns on His head and a reed as a royal scepter in His hand. They knelt down as if paying homage to a king and they mocked Jesus, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews.’ They spat on Him and they beat Him, a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of the Suffering Servant in today’s first reading. He said, ‘I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.’

“At this Mass and at every Mass, we worship Christ our King. We sing the same words sung by the people on that first Palm Sunday: ‘Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’ During this Holy Week, may we give honor and praise to our King who reigns from the throne of the cross. His royal throne is the wood of the cross. Jesus is our King and our Shepherd, the shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. He is the Son of God who loved us to the end. We are His disciples and we seek to love Him in return. We strive to follow Him along the way of the cross, the path of love. We strive to serve Him in our brothers and sisters, especially in the poor and the needy, the sick and the suffering. The Lord our King says to us: ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’”

The bishop said in conclusion, “This week I pray we experience anew this love that reached its climax on Mount Calvary. I hope and pray that the days of Holy Week, especially the Sacred Triduum, will be a time of grace for all of us, a time in which we enter more deeply into the Passion of Our Lord and King. Then next Sunday we will experience in a deeper way the joy of His victory, the triumph of His love, in the celebration of His resurrection.”

The red vestments of Palm Sunday vividly illustrated the redemption in blood that Christ paid for the world. On Easter Sunday, the colors gold and white will symbolize the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the salvation of the world.

Click here for more photos from St. Joseph South Bend.

Click here for more photos from Corpus Christi, South Bend.

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