Mass Readings for the Palm Sunday Year B
- Procession – Mark 11:1-10: Jesus sends two disciples ahead to fetch a donkey in a village, fulfilling a prophecy and riding into Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna!” and the spreading of palm branches. This triumphal entry marks the beginning of the final week of Jesus’ life, leading up to his crucifixion and resurrection.
- Procession alternate gospel – John 12:12-16: Jesus enters Jerusalem triumphantly, fulfilling a prophecy from Zechariah and being greeted by a crowd spreading palm branches and shouting “Hosanna!” The disciples do not yet fully understand the significance of this event, but it marks the beginning of Jesus’ final days before his crucifixion and resurrection.
- First reading – Isaiah 50:4-7: The prophet speaks of a servant of God who is obedient and willing to suffer for the sake of others. This servant puts his trust in God, even in the face of opposition and persecution, and ultimately triumphs over his enemies.
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 22: Psalm 22 is a prayer of lament and despair, in which the psalmist cries out to God in agony, feeling abandoned and persecuted by enemies. However, the psalmist ultimately expresses confidence in God’s faithfulness and salvation, proclaiming that all nations will one day worship and praise the Lord.
- Second Reading – Philippians 2:6-11: Paul speaks of the humility and exaltation of Jesus Christ, who despite being in the form of God, humbled himself to become a servant and even to die on the cross. As a result of his obedience, God highly exalted Jesus and gave him a name above every name, so that every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- Gospel – Mark 14:1—15:47: The events of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion, depicting the betrayal of Judas, the abandonment of the disciples, and the hostility of the religious authorities and Roman soldiers. Despite the unjust suffering and death that Jesus endures, the narrative portrays him as a faithful and obedient servant of God.
Themes for the Mass Readings for Palm Sunday Year B
The readings for Palm Sunday Year B (Passion Sunday) focus the sacrifice which Jesus Christ made for me and you. The reading for the procession of the palms tells of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The first reading from Isaiah foretells Jesus’ suffering. The psalm sings “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”, which is the Psalm Jesus prayed from the cross. The second reading from Philippians speaks of the how Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. And in the gospel we hear how Jesus first celebrated the Passover, and then became the sacrificial lamb for us.
- Paschal Mystery – The readings depict the Paschal Mystery, which refers to the Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ. The events of Jesus’ final days before his crucifixion and resurrection are highlighted in the readings about the Triumphal Entry, the Suffering Servant, and the Gospel accounts of his arrest, trial, and crucifixion. This Paschal Mystery is a central tenet of Christian theology, emphasizing how Jesus’ sacrifice and victory over sin and death are central to the faith.
- Triumphal Entry – The readings for Palm Sunday Year B depict the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, fulfilling prophecies and being greeted by crowds spreading palm branches and shouting “Hosanna!” This event marks the beginning of the final week of Jesus’ life before his crucifixion and resurrection.
- Suffering Servant – The readings portray a servant of God who is obedient and willing to suffer for the sake of others. This servant puts his trust in God, even in the face of opposition and persecution, and ultimately triumphs over his enemies.
- Faithfulness and Salvation – The readings express confidence in God’s faithfulness and salvation, even in the midst of suffering and despair. The psalmist in Psalm 22 cries out to God in agony but ultimately proclaims that all nations will one day worship and praise the Lord.
- Humility and Exaltation – The readings for Palm Sunday Year B speak of the humility and exaltation of Jesus Christ, who despite being in the form of God, humbled himself to become a servant and even to die on the cross. As a result of his obedience, God highly exalted Jesus and gave him a name above every name.
- Obedience to God – The readings depict Jesus as a faithful and obedient servant of God, even in the face of unjust suffering and death. The narrative of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion portrays him as enduring these trials with faithfulness and obedience to God.
- True Leadership – The readings for Palm Sunday Year B also touch on the theme of true leadership, specifically the qualities of humility, servanthood, and obedience to God as exemplified by Jesus Christ. In Philippians 2:6-11, Paul speaks of how Jesus humbled himself to become a servant and demonstrated true leadership through his obedience to God, ultimately being exalted by God. This theme of true leadership is also implied in the readings about the Suffering Servant, who is willing to suffer and put others before himself, demonstrating a servant-like attitude rather than seeking power or prestige.
Resources for Palm Sunday Year B
This prayer is based on Psalm 22, which is the responsorial psalm for Palm Sunday Year B. It is a prayer for when we feel like God is nowhere to be found. Psalm 22 is the psalm Jesus prayed from the cross when he quoted “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
Reflect on the sentencing of Jesus. It works well if one person reads the scripture and another reads the meditation. It includes a set of questions for small group discussion for Palm Sunday Year B.
We are all familiar with the Passion story. We hear it every year on Palm Sunday and on Good Friday. But when we read it at Mass, we read it at the same pace as the whole congregation. So try reading it prayerfully on your own for Palm Sunday Year B.
Lenten Ideas for Palm Sunday Year B
The Jelly Bean Prayer is a fun Easter prayer for your family or youth ministry. Make up some jars of jelly beans on Palm Sunday Year B to give away with the prayer during the Octave of Easter. Put them on display for the rest of Lent to remember that we are walking this Lenten journey with the hope of celebrating the resurrection of our Lord on Easter.
Good Friday is the Friday before Easter. On Good Friday, Catholics commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, who died to redeem us. There is no mass on Good Friday, but your local parish will hold a liturgy to remember this tremendous act of love. Attend them with your family.
The Mass of the Lord’s Supper commemorates the last supper of Jesus Christ with his disciples, when the institution of the priesthood and the Eucharist took place. Holy Thursday is not a holy day of obligation, but you should consider attending with your whole family.
This printable cryptogram is a fun way to introduce youth to the vocabulary for Lent and Triduum. Each word is encrypted and definitions are given. Youth must consider the definition and then decrypt the word. Use it for catechesis for Palm Sunday Year B.
Catholics are required to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Adding another day of fasting is a way of practicing an additional sacrifice during Lent. You can decide to fast one day per week. (Friday would be a traditional.)
Christ went to pray at the Garden of Gethsemane. It is a prayer of total surrender to the Father’s will. So as a Lenten activity, go to a garden and think about the Garden of Gethsemane.
Homilies and Reflections for Palm Sunday Year B
In this reflection for Palm Sunday Year B, Jeff Cavins shows us how Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem was the beginning of his entering into a new covenant with humanity.
What does the cross mean? Jesus chose to be beaten, humiliated, and killed for us. When you wear that cross on your neck or make the sign of the cross, really think about what that means. This goes well with the passion reading for Palm Sunday Year B.
A homily for Palm Sunday Year B from Bishop Robert Barron. “Friends, one of the best known stories in Western culture is the narrative of Christ’s Passion and death. However, this very familiarity can block our understanding of the account. What I want to do in this homily is to draw your attention to three odd details of Mark’s Gospel, each of which packs a punch spiritually.”
A reflection for Palm Sunday Year B Scott Hahn. “Crowned with thorns, our Lord is lifted up on the Cross, where He dies as ‘King of the Jews.’ Notice how many times He is called ‘king’ in today’s Gospel—mostly in scorn and mockery. As we hear the long accounts of His Passion, at every turn we must remind ourselves—He suffered this cruel and unusual violence for us.” Continue reading.
Another homily for Palm Sunday Year B from Bishop Barron. “Entering Holy Week, we see numerous stirring examples of Jesus’ fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. From the direction he enters Jerusalem to his mode of transport, we find again and again how he is the one intended to reclaim the temple and prove to the world that he is indeed the son of God, chosen to save us through his revolutionary example of love and forgiveness.”
More Thoughts for the Palm Sunday Year B
Letting Go of Desires and Expectations
The reading for the procession for Palm Sunday Year B tells the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where he is greeted with shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” The people were excited and hopeful that Jesus would be the one to liberate them from Roman rule and restore the glory of Israel. However, when we get to the Passion reading, we see that things did not turn out as they had hoped.
In these later passages, we witness Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion. He is betrayed by one of his own disciples, denied by another, and abandoned by most. He is mocked, beaten, and ultimately killed on a cross.
As we reflect on these two passages together, we are reminded of the fickle nature of human beings. The same people who welcomed Jesus with open arms in Mark 11, were the ones who turned on him in Mark 14-15. They allowed their own expectations and desires to cloud their judgment, and they failed to see the true mission and message of Jesus.
This can serve as a warning to us as well. It is easy for us to get caught up in our own desires and expectations, and to lose sight of the bigger picture. We may think that we know what is best for ourselves and for the world, but in reality, our knowledge and understanding are limited.
The readings for Palm Sunday Year B remind us that God’s ways are not our ways, and that sometimes we must be willing to let go of our own expectations and trust in God’s plan. Jesus’ death on the cross was not the end, but rather the beginning of a new hope and a new life. It was through his sacrifice that we are saved, and it is through our own willingness to surrender our own desires and follow him that we can experience true freedom and salvation.
Let us reflect on these passages for Palm Sunday Year B with humility and openness, recognizing our own limitations and weaknesses, and trusting in the infinite wisdom and love of God. May we be willing to let go of our own expectations and desires, and follow Jesus with faith and courage, even when the road ahead seems uncertain or difficult.
Turn to Prayer
As we contemplate the suffering and death of Jesus, we are struck by the paradox of his divinity and his willingness to endure such great pain and humiliation. It is true that Jesus could have easily avoided his suffering and death. He could have just quietly slipped away instead of staying to pray in the garden of Gethsemane. But he chose not to.
Instead, Jesus embraced his suffering and death as an act of complete obedience and trust in the Father. He turned to prayer, even in his darkest hour in the garden of Gethsemane, and entrusted all that he was into the loving care of his Father. He remained obedient, even when his closest friends betrayed him and abandoned him.
As followers of Jesus, we are also called to trust in God completely, even when we face suffering and death. We must believe that God loves us and will transform the deaths we experience into new life. We must also be willing to embrace our own crosses, just as Jesus did, and trust that God will use our suffering for his glory.
In the face of great trials and difficulties, we must turn to prayer and entrust ourselves to God’s loving care. We must remain obedient to his will, even when it is difficult or painful. And we must remember that just as Jesus’ suffering and death led to new life and resurrection, so too will our own sufferings be transformed into new life in Christ. May we be strengthened by the example of Jesus, and may we trust in his love and mercy always.
Reflection Questions for Palm Sunday Year B
- Do you turn to prayer first when you face suffering in your life? In what ways can you deepen your prayer life and trust in God during times of difficulty?
- Do you really trust that God loves you, even in the midst of your struggles and pain? How can you remind yourself of God’s love and faithfulness, especially when you feel alone or overwhelmed?
- What can you do to deepen your trust in God? Are there any specific practices or disciplines that can help you grow in your faith and reliance on God? How can you cultivate a deeper sense of surrender and obedience to his will?
- Are there times when you find it difficult to trust in God’s plan for your life? What are some of the obstacles or challenges that get in the way of your faith and trust?
- How do you respond when you face suffering or adversity in your life? Do you turn to prayer and rely on God’s strength and comfort, or do you try to handle things on your own?
- In what ways can you deepen your relationship with God and grow in your trust and faith? Are there any spiritual practices or disciplines that you would like to incorporate into your life?
- Do you believe that God can transform your pain and suffering into something good and meaningful? How can you open yourself up to this possibility and trust in God’s loving plan for your life?
Quotes and Social Media Graphics for the Palm Sunday Year B
Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.From the 2nd Reading for Palm Sunday Year B