Palm Sunday Year A (2023) – Passion Sunday

Mass Readings for Palm Sunday Year A (Passion Sunday)

  • Procession Matthew 21:1-11: “The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road.”
  • First ReadingIsaiah 50:4-7: “Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.”
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
  • Second ReadingPhilippians 2:6-11: “Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.”
  • Gospel Matthew 26:14 – 27:66: “I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.”

Themes for Palm Sunday Year A (Passion Sunday)

The readings for Palm Sunday Year A (Passion Sunday) focus on the stark contrast between the crowds love for Jesus and then their act of abandonment. The reading for the procession of the palms tells how Jesus was greeted by a joyous crowd when he entered Jerusalem. The first reading speaks of the suffering servant. The psalm reflects Jesus’ words on the cross, but ends as a song of praise. The second reading reminds us that Jesus is lord of all. And in the gospel , we hear the narrative of Jesus’ crucifixion and his willing sacrifice for us.

  • Jesus’ act of sacrificial love
  • The revelation of the nature of God
  • Feeling abandoned
  • Suffering

See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for Palm Sunday Year A (Passion Sunday).

Resources for Palm Sunday Year A (Passion Sunday)

Where Is God?

This prayer is based on Psalm 22, which is the responsorial psalm for Palm Sunday Year C. 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?”

Lent and Triduum Cryptogram Puzzle

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.

Where Have You Been? (Reflection on the Passion of Jesus Christ)

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.

Make Jars with the Jelly Bean Prayer to Prepare for Easter

The Jelly Bean Prayer is a fun Easter prayer for your family or youth ministry. Make up some jars of jelly beans 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.

Attend Good Friday Services

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.

Prayerfully Read the Passion of Our Lord

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.

Have a Poor Man’s Meal for Dinner

Fasting is one of the traditional Lenten practices for Catholics. One way to fast is to have a poor man’s meal. Instead of a full dinner, have a simple bowl of soup and a few crackers. This method of fasting is a way to express solidarity with the hungry and homeless in our community.

Attend the Mass of the Lord’s Supper

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.

Visit an Elderly Relative or a Nursing Home

Visiting an elderly relative or friend can be a meaningful activity for children and teens during Lent. Or visit a nursing home.  But it can also be uncomfortable for children, young and old, who are not used to visiting with senior citizens. They seem to have so little in common. But in fact, there are some easy ways to break the ice.

Homilies and Reflections for Palm Sunday Year A (Passion Sunday)

The Tree of Life

Jeff Cavins discusses the readings for Palm Sunday, reflecting on the Tree of Life and Jesus being sentenced to death.

Praying Through Holy Week

Fr. Mike Schmitz describes how the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist from Duluth pray during Holy Week. Discover something you can use in your prayer life as we walk with Jesus from his entry into Jerusalem, to Calvary and the Resurrection.

Which King? Whose Kingdom?

From Bishop Robert Barron. The story of the Lord’s suffering and death haunted the minds of the first Christians. All the Gospels center around it and find their fulfillment in it. The special emphasis in this years account, taken from the Gospel of Luke, is Christ’s struggle with the false kingdoms of the world.

All Is Fulfilled

From Scott Hahn. We have reached the climax of the liturgical year, the highest peak of salvation history, when all that has been anticipated and promised is to be fulfilled.

More Thoughts for Palm Sunday Year A (Passion Sunday)

The readings on Palm Sunday gives us the opportunity to place ourselves in the events of Holy Week and consider how we would have responded had we been there. Perhaps we would have been among the crowd on the street singing Hosanna. Or maybe we would have been complaining about these demonstrators who were disrupting our preparations for the Passover.

We might have been sitting next to Peter, denying we even know the Lord, fearful and afraid. Or we might have been among the crowd calling for the crucifixion of Jesus. There are other people to identify with: Simon of Cyrene who was forced to serve, the women at the foot of the cross who steadfastly stayed close to Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea who provides what is can, the women who keep vigil at the tomb.

Chances are we can see ourselves in many of these people. This is an opportunity to think about how we respond to Jesus in our own lives.

Reflection Questions for Palm Sunday Year A (Passion Sunday)Year B

  • Which person or group of people in the passion narrative stand out the most to me?
  • What does the diversity of the people in the account tell me?
  • Who do I identify with in this gospel?

Quotes and Social Media Graphics for Palm Sunday Year A (Passion Sunday)

Hosanna to the Son of David.
Blessed is the he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

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