Palm Sunday:
The Entry into Jersusalem

by Fr. Raphael Frassinetti, 1900

Gospel. Matt. xxvi. and xxvii.. At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: You know that after two days shall be the Pasch, and the Son of man shall be delivered up to be crucified. Then were gathered together the chief priests and ancients of the people into the court of the highpriest, who was called Caiphas: and they consulted together, that by subtilty they might apprehend Jesus and put him to death. But they said: Not on the festival day, lest perhaps there should be a tumult among the people.

And when Jesus was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, there came to him a woman having an alabaster box of precious ointment, and poured it on his head as he was at table. And the disciples seeing it, had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste? for this might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon me. For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always. For she, in pouring this ointment upon my body, hath done it for my burial. Amen, I say to you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done, shall be told for a memory of her.

Then went one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests. And said to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? But they appointed him thirty pieces of silver. And from thenceforth he sought opportunity to betray him.

And on the first day of the Azymes the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Pasch? But Jesus said: Go ye into the city to a certain man, and say to him: The master saith: My time is near at hand, with thee I make the Pasch with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed to them, and they prepared the Pasch.

But when it was evening, he sat down with his twelve disciples. And whilst they were eating, he said: Amen I say to you, that one of you is about to betray me. And they being very much troubled, began every one to say: Is it I, Lord? But he answering said: He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, he shall betray me. The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but wo to that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed: it were better for him if that man had not been born. And Judas that betrayed him, answering said: Is it I, Rabbi? He saith to him: Thou hast said it.

And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body. And taking the chalice he gave thanks; and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto the remission of sins. And I say to you I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.

And a hymn being said, they went out unto mount Olivet. Then Jesus saith to them: All you shall be Scandalized in me this night. For it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed. But after I shall be risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. And Peter answering, said to him: Although all shall be scandalized in thee, I will never be scandalized. Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, that in this night before the cock crow, thou wilt deny me thrice. Peter saith to him: Yea, though I should die with thee, I will not deny thee. And in like manner said all the disciples.

Then Jesua came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani, and he said to his disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray. And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to grow sorrowful and to be sad. Then he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here and watch with me. And going a little further, he fell upon his face, praying, and saying: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh to his disciples: and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What! could you not watch one hour with me? Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak. Again the second time he went and prayed, saying: My Father, it this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, thy will be done. And he cometh again, and findeth them sleeping: for their eyes were heavy. And leaving them, he went again: and he prayed the third time, saying the self-same word. Then he cometh to his disciples and saith to them: Sleep ye now and take your rest: behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go: behold he is at hand that will betray me.

As he yet spoke, behold Judas, one of the twelve came, and with him a great multitude with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the ancients of the people. And he that betrayed him, gave them a sign, saying: Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he, hold him fast. And forthwith coming to Jesus, he said: Hail, Rabbi. And he kissed him. And Jesus said to him: Friend, whereto art thou come? Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus, and held him. And behold one of them, that were with Jesus, stretching forth his hand, drew out his sword, and striking the servant of the high-priest, cut off his ear. Then Jesus saith to him: Put up again thy sword into its place: For all that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot ask my Father, and he will give me presently more than twelve legions of angels? How then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that so it must be done?

In that same hour Jesus said to the multitudes: You are come out as it were to a robber with swords and clubs to apprehend me. I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and you laid not hands on me. Now all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then the disciples all leaving him, fled. But they holding Jesus led him to Caiphas the high-priest, where the scribes and the ancients were assembled. And Peter followed him afar off, even to the court of the high-priest. And going in, he sat with the servants, that he might see the end.

And the chief priests and the whole council sought false witness against Jesus, that they might put him to death: and they found not, whereas many false witnesses had come in. And last of all there came two false witnesses, and they said: This man said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and after three days to rebuild it. And the high-priest rising up, said to him: Answereth thou nothing to the things which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high-priest said to him: I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us if thou be the Christ the Son of God.

Jesus saith to him: Thou hast said it; nevertheless I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high-priest rent his garments, saying: He hath blasphemed: what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, how you have heard the blasphemy; what think you? But they answering said: He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffet him, and others struck his face with the palms of their hands, saying: Prophesy unto us, O Christ; who is he that struck thee?

But Peter sat without in the court: and there came to him a servant maid, saying: Thou also wast with Jesus the Galilean. But he denied before them all, saying: I know not what thou say est. And as he went out of the gate another maid saw him, and she saith to them that were there: This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath: That I know not the man. And after a little while they came that stood by, and said to Peter: Surely thou also art one of them: for even thy speech doth discover thee. Then he began to curse and to swear that he knew not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus which he had said: Before the cock crow, thou wilt deny me thrice. And going forth he wept bitterly.

And when morning was come, all the chief priests and ancients of the people took counsel against Jesus, that they might put him to death. And they brought him bound, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. Then Judas who betrayed him seeing that he was condemned, repenting himself, brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and ancients, saying: I have sinned in betraying innocent blood. But they said: What is that to us? look thou to it. And casting down the pieces of silver in the temple he departed: and went and hanged himself with an halter. But the chief priests having taken the pieces of silver, said: It is not lawful to put them into the corbona, because it is the price of blood. And after they had consulted together, they bought with them the potter's field to be a burying-place for strangers. For this cause that field was called Haceldama, that is, the field of blood, even to this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was prized, whom they prized of the children of Israel: and they gave them unto the potter's field, as the Lord appointed to me.

And Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, saying: Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus saith to him: Thou sayest it. And when he was accused by the chief priests and ancients, he answered nothing. Then Pilate saith to him: Dost not thou hear how great testimonies they allege against thee! And he answered him to never a word: so that the governor wondered exceedingly.

Now upon the solemn day the governor was accustomed to release to the people one prisoner, whom they would; and he had then a notorious prisoner that was called Barabbas. They therefore being gathered together, Pilate said: Whom will you that I release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus that is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. And as he was sitting in the place of judgment his wife sent to him, saying: Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. But the chief priests and ancients persuaded the people that they should ask Barabbas, and make Jesus away. And the governor answering, said to them: Whether will you of the two to be released unto you? But they said, Barabbas. Pilate saith to them: What shall I do then with Jesus that is called Christ? They say all: Let him be crucified. The governor said to them: Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying: Let him be crucified. And Pilate seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made: taking water, washed his hands before the people, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man; look you to it. And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and upon our children. Then he released to them Barabbas: and having scourged Jesus, delivered him unto them to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor taking Jesus into the hall, gathered together unto him the whole band: and stripping him, they put a scarlet cloak about him. And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand. And bowing the knee before him, they mocked him, saying: Hail, king of the Jews. And spitting upon him, they took the reed, and struck his head. And after they had mocked him, they took off the cloak from him and put on him his own garments, and led him away to crucify him. And going out they found a man of Cyrene, named Simon: him they forced to take up his cross. And they came to the place which is called Golgotha, which is the place of Calvary. And they gave him wine to drink mingled with gall. And when he had tasted, he would not drink.

And after they had crucified him, they divided his garments; casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: They divided my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots. And they sat and watched him. And they put over his head his cause, written: This is Jesus the King of the Jews.

Then were crucified with him two thieves: one on the right hand, and one on the left. And they that passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads, and saying: Vah, thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days dost rebuild it: save thy own self: if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. In like manner also the chief priests with the scribes and ancients mocking, said: He saved others, himself he cannot save: if he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God: let him now deliver him if he will have him: for he said: I am the Son of God. And the self-same thing the thieves also, that were crucified with him, reproached him with.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over the whole earth, until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: Eli, Eli, lamma sabaethani? that is, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some that stood there and heard, said: This man calleth Elias. And immediately one of them running took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. And the others said: Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to deliver him. And Jesus again crying with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent. And the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints that had slept, arose, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, came into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Now the centurion, and they that were with him watching Jesus, having seen the earthquake and the things that were done, were sore afraid, saying: Indeed this was the Son of God. And there were many women afar off, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. And when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph; who also himself was a disciple of Jesus; he went to Pilate and asked the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded that the body should be delivered. And Joseph taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth; and laid it in his own new monument, which he had hewed out in a rock. And he rolled a great stone to the door of the monument and went his way. And there was there Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary sitting over against the sepulchre.

And the next day, which followed the day of preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees came together to Pilate, saying: Sir, we have remembered that that seducer said, while he was yet alive: After three days I will rise again. Command therefore the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day: lest perhaps his disciples come and steal him away, and say to the people: He is risen from the dead: and the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said to them: You have a guard: go guard it as you know. And they departing, made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting guards.

Splendid was the triumphal entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem. Among that crowd of people who welcomed Our Lord, there were a large number of children of the Jews, attracted no doubt by the enthusiasm of their parents. These young ones were, if possible, even more enthusiastic than their elders. Their cries were encouraged, and Our Lord rebuked those who would dampen their youthful ardor in any way. We might know from this, my dear children, that it is not out of place to be glad, and even when the proper time comes, to be noisy at play.

But this is a holy time--let us not be distracted by noise. Let us rather turn our thoughts to the Passion of Our Lord. The Church puts on deep and dark purple to show that she is doing penance.

Magnificent, therefore, was the entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem; loud acclamations accompanied Him. They would have made Him king on other occasions, but He went away and hid Himself, declining all such honors. This day, however, the whole multitude is carried away with joy; they pay Him royal homage and He allows it. Where are now the enemies of Christ? They have hid on this day, and dare not make their appearance; when they do they are quickly silenced by Our Lord Himself, who assures us that if the old and young, and especially the young, were hindered from giving vent to their jubilation, even the stones on the roadside would cry out. Branches of trees are cut down and are borne in the hands of the people. Smaller greens are strewn on the way, and a perfect carpet is made of the people's cloaks spread on the roads over which Jesus is to pass.

This was the celebration of the first Palm Sunday, my dear children. Palms are now publicly blessed in the church; a procession of altar boys goes through the aisles bearing palm leaves, and everybody carries palms home to their houses to keep them because they are blessed.

Soon, however, the scene will change. Soon this enthusiasm will die out, and the enemies of Jesus will show themselves again. Those who cried out the loudest are now astonished at their boldness, and they ask themselves to what it will lead. Then they are told that reparation must be made; this dangerous man must be got out of the way; He must die to destroy His pretensions to royalty. Our Lord is shocked most of all by the instability of human affection, the ingratitude, the desertion of Him, the treachery of His friends. Yes, my dear children, one thing we must resolve, and that is, to be strong in our faith and faithful unto death to our divine Master.

When you are preparing for confession or communion you are in earnest in your promises to Jesus, but soon the humor changes; you grow cold again; you become careless in your prayers and fall into sin. One day you cry out: "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who cometh in the name of the Lord!" But soon you change your mind, and think the friendship of Jesus is too tyrannical; it exacts too much of you and you join the multitude of the wicked who mutter: "This Jesus subverts the heart of the people. We have no king but Caesar, the world, and our passions. Away with Him to the cross."

Our Lord in His triumphal entry into Jerusalem was a real king--a real God. He held His enemies down by the power of His omnipotence. There is a lesson of confidence in this providence of God. Dear children, the Church has often been persecuted. Men have been ashamed of her; they have fought against her, and strong enemies they were too-- stronger than the Church in a worldly sense. It has often been predicted that the Church would come to ruin. You may have noticed these persecutions yourselves, dear children, in reading history. We have at least read of the powerful enemies against the infant Church; the persecuting Jews; the Romans who martyred hundreds of thousands. I conceive from this the firm conviction that the Church will stand forever. Eemember that you belong to the true Church, which is constantly under the providence of God. Be faithful to her all your lives; be not cowards who will desert her under the most trivial temptation. O ye of little faith! why do ye doubt? How easily our young men are seen to fall away, if not by changing their faith, by becoming careless in the practice of it.

Our Lord enters Jerusalem, humble, kind, peaceful, sitting on an ass led by the Apostles, love depicted on His countenance. In former times, in the East especially, when a triumphal entry was made into a city, there was a great pageant. Great quantities of captured arms were conveyed in carts; banners taken from the enemy were displayed; vessels of gold and silver were tastefully carried, but especially poor captives bound with chains hand and foot were cruelly dragged along to be put to death after the festivities were over on that day of their humiliation. Not so on the day of the triumph of Our Lord. His was rather a spiritual exultation than a triumph of the world. Our Lord is peaceful and good; He could crush His enemies at any time, but He prefers to be patient and wait for their conversion. Even after they have done Him the greatest injury He does not strike them; He is ever meek and humble. This character, you, my dear children, ought to endeavor to gain early in life. Children are prone to hasty anger and to little spitefulnesses; some have violent tempers, and in their blind rage would commit any injury, even to their friends.

Kindness and goodness of heart are most beautiful characteristics in young people; docility is the most winning quality in a child's disposition. Jesus is your king and master; follow Him in the practice of virtue, and according to this day's Gospel make His meekness a special lesson to be learned and imitated.