KOTA KINABALU – The faithful in Kota Kinabalu joined millions of their fellow faithful worldwide in observing Palm and Passion Sunday on 20 March 2016.
Palm Sunday is known as such because the faithful will often bring palm fronds which they use to participate in the reenactment of Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem. In the Gospels, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a young donkey, and to the lavish praise of the townspeople who threw clothes, or possibly palms or small branches, in front of him as a sign of homage. This was a customary practice for people of great respect.
Palm branches are widely recognised as symbol of peace and victory, hence their preferred use on Palm Sunday. The use of a donkey instead of a horse is highly symbolic, it represents the humble arrival of someone in peace, as opposed to arriving on a steed in war.
It is also known as Passion Sunday because it is on Palm Sunday that the faithful enter Holy Week and welcome Jesus into their lives, asking him to allow them a share in his suffering, death and resurrection. This is also the time they remember and relive the events which brought about their redemption and salvation. That is why the Holy Week liturgy presents the people with the actual events of the dying and rising of Jesus. The liturgy also enables them to experience in their lives, here and now, what Jesus went through then. In other words, they commemorate and relive during this week their own dying and rising in Jesus, which result in their healing, reconciliation, and redemption.
It must be remembered that proper participation in the Holy Week liturgy will also deepen their relationship with God, increase their Faith and strengthen their lives as disciples of Jesus. However, Holy Week can become “holy” only if each one actively and consciously takes part in the liturgies of this week.
This is also the week when all should lighten the burden of Christ’s passion as daily experienced by the hungry, the poor, the sick, the homeless, the lonely and the outcast through their corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
The Passion Sunday liturgy combines contrasting moments, one of glory, the other of suffering: the welcome of Jesus into Jerusalem and the drama of his unjust trial and suffering, culminating in his crucifixion and death.
At the Sacred Heart Cathedral, the blessing of the palms took place at the foyer of the Sacred Heart Parish Centre before processing to the cathedral for the Sunset Mass on March 19.