Today is Palm Sunday, an annual feast in the Christian calendar that marks the transition from Lent into the Holy Week that leads up to Easter.
At the Vatican City Pope Francis led Palm Sunday services in an almost empty St. Peter’s Basilica because of coronavirus restrictions for the second consecutive year and said the devil is taking advantage of the pandemic.
In pre-coronavirus times, tens of thousands of people would pack St. Peter’s Square holding olive branches and intricately woven palm fronds in an outdoor ceremony.
Palm Sunday symbolises the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, where he triumphantly rode on a donkey a week before his resurrection. The event is recounted in each of the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
According to the Holy Bible, as he entered the city of Jerusalem, people laid down their cloaks, palm leaves and small tree branches on the ground before him, singing “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord.”
This tradition is still practised by Christian to date, this time churches commemorate this high point in Christ’s public life at a divine liturgy in the church decorated with palms and laurel leaves.
A procession through the church re-enacts Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.
Christians, mostly Catholics and some orthodox churches often carry lit candles they have decorated. Small crosses are made of palm and handed out to everyone who attends the service.
For many Christians, palm branches symbolises goodness and victory.
Meanwhile, the Holy Father, Pope Francis asked Christians to imbibe the virtues of Jesus Christ even as he noted that, “The Devil is taking advantage of the crisis to sow distrust, desperation and discord,”
Pope Francis added that the pandemic had brought physical, psychological and spiritual suffering.
The Pope in his tweet on Sunday said: “God triumphs, but the palm of victory passes through the wood of the cross. For the palm and the cross are inseparable.”
“We are called to recognize that other living beings have a value of their own in God’s eyes: by their mere existence they bless him and give him glory, and indeed, the Lord rejoices in all his works.”
God is at our side in every affliction, in every fear; no evil, no sin will ever have the final word. God triumphs, but the palm of victory passes through the wood of the cross. For the palm and the cross are inseparable. #PalmSunday https://t.co/Nm9o1oR2P1
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) March 28, 2021
Today is #PalmSunday when we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He was welcomed by crowds who laid palm leaves in his path and proclaimed him the Messiah.
Palm Sunday also marks the start of Holy Week when we look ahead to Jesus' crucifixion on Good Friday. pic.twitter.com/dWwLgca21I
— Westminster Abbey (@wabbey) March 28, 2021