By Robin Gomes
Catholics across the world started the Holy Week with a Palm Sunday Mass on April 14.
The 40-day Lenten period of fasting, prayer, penance and good works concludes with Holy Week that celebrates the most solemn mysteries of the Christian faith in the passion and death of Jesus. It culminates into Christ’s triumphant resurrection from death, or Easter, Christianity’s greatest feast.
On Palm Sunday, the faithful hold blessed palms in commemoration of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on a donkey, with people waving palms and olive branches chanting ‘Hosanna’ in greeting.
Palm Sunday’s Gospel is the narrative of the passion, death and the burial of Jesus.
In the western Indian city of Mumbai, Cardinal Oswald Gracias ushered in the Holy Week with a Palm Sunday Mass on the grounds of Holy Name School.
In his homily, the Archbishop of Bombay briefly recalled the various teachings of Jesus during the 5 Sunday’s of Lent, such as God’s infinite mercy, call to repentance and producing fruit…
Explaining the significance of Palm Sunday, he said that in the time of Jesus, a soldier riding on a horse meant that he came to conquer, but when the Lord came on a donkey, it meant that he came in peace. Jesus comes with the ultimate message of peace – peace with God, peace with ourselves, peace with nature, peace with all people.
The cardinal invited all the people present to follow this example and go forth in peace like Jesus.
He emphasized that the Passion narrative is a reminder and invitation to each one to embark on a pilgrimage, during the Holy Week, to be transformed, and to speak out against all that kills human life, that is unjust. He exhorted the people to ensure that the season of Lent is life-giving and transformative. This day is a timely reminder to ourselves that there is much more to be done to alleviate suffering and injustice.