Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

The antiphons sung by the choir of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento, CA this morning, give a superb overview for our reflection of our Lord’s passion:

Opening Antiphon:

Hosanna filio David:
benedictus qui venit
     in nomine Domini.
Rex Israel: Hosanna in excelsis.
Hosanna to the Son of David.
Blessed is he who comes
    in the name of the Lord.
King of Israel: Hosanna in the highest.

The Scriptures tell us the crowd was jubilant, escorting Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. They spread their cloaks on the ground before Jesus, while others cut branches from the trees to place along the road. The crowds all around were cheering, crying out “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest!” (paraphrased from Matthew 21:1-11).

The readings shift our attention from the exaltation of Jesus and his king’s welcome into the city, to the reason why he came to Jerusalem in the first place. Jesus said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” (Luke 9:22)


Offertory Antiphon:

O vos omnes qui transitis per viam:
attendite et videte
si est dolor
     sicut dolor meus.
Come, all you who pass by the way:
look and see 
whether there is any suffering
     like my suffering.

What a challenge to hear these words at the offertory. “Come, pass by and see my suffering.”

Saint Magdalene of Canossa always told her daughters, “No matter how little the Daughters of Charity penetrate the mystery of the Cross, they will see that the strictest poverty they might practice will always be a game and nothing compared to that of the Crucifix.” (Unabridged Rule of the Canossian Daughters of Charity, p.68)

Thus, whatever we do, any sacrifices we make in the name of Christ, we have no reason to boast. There is no suffering like that of our Lord in His passion.


Communion Antiphon

Pater, si non potest hic calix transire,
nisi bibam illum:
fiat voluntas tua.
Father, if this cup cannot pass away
unless I drink it,
Thy will be done.

Father, Thy will be done! These words were repeated while the faithful made their way up to communion today. “Father, if this cup cannot pass, but I must drink of it, let your will be done, let your will be done.”  (Matthew 26:42).

Every step towards communion reminded me of the ultimate sacrifice, the pouring out of our Lord’s blood for our sins. It humbled me to think that I can receive the Lord’s true presence in the Eucharist. Are we worthy? No. We never will be. But by Jesus’ obedience to the Father’s will, our reception is based on His worthiness…what grace.


Blessed Holy Week everyone. May our Lord bless you abundantly in our contemplation of His greatest act of love found on the Cross.


Related posts:

Lisa Graas has the Passion of Christ in Full on her site.

If you haven’t been to confession for a while, Father Z has some helpful hints.

Let’s remember Mary’s role as we reflect on the passion.