Mass Readings for Palm Sunday Year A (Passion Sunday)
- Procession - Matthew 21:1-11: Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where he rode on a donkey and was greeted by crowds of people who praised him as the Son of David and King of Israel.
- First Reading - Isaiah 50:4-7: The prophet Isaiah speaks of a servant of God who is a skilled teacher and obedient to God's will, even in the face of persecution and suffering. The servant trusts in God's protection and ultimately prevails over his oppressors.
- Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 22: This psalm describes the anguish of a suffering individual who feels abandoned by God and is mocked and persecuted by others. Despite this, the speaker expresses trust in God's ultimate protection and proclaims God's glory to others.
- Second Reading - Philippians 2:6-11: This passage describes the selfless humility of Jesus Christ, who, despite being divine, chose to become human and submit to a humiliating death on a cross. As a result of his obedience, God exalted him and gave him a name above all others, that every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
- Gospel - Matthew 26:14 - 27:66: The Passion reading describes the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion and death. It includes Jesus' betrayal by Judas Iscariot, his arrest and trial before the high priest, his denial by Peter, his sentencing by Pilate, his crucifixion and death, and his burial in a tomb.
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' triumphant entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11 describes how Jesus rode into the city on a donkey, surrounded by crowds of people who waved palm branches and praised him as the Son of David and King of Israel. This event fulfilled Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah and demonstrated Jesus' identity as a powerful and beloved leader.
- Jesus' kingship: Jesus is presented as a humble and peaceful king, riding on a donkey instead of a horse, which was a symbol of war. This image of a servant-king who comes to save his people is a powerful reminder of Jesus' mission to redeem humanity through his sacrifice on the cross.
- Jesus' sacrifice on the cross: The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday Year A tells the story of Jesus' betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion. It highlights Jesus' humility and obedience, even in the face of intense suffering and humiliation. This reminder of Jesus' sacrifice and love for us invites us to consider our own relationship with God and to respond with gratitude and devotion.
- Our own relationship with God: The events of Holy Week invite us to reflect on our own commitment to following Jesus' example of love, humility, and selflessness. We are called to prepare ourselves for the celebration of Easter by considering our own response to Jesus' sacrifice and our own willingness to follow his teachings.
- Feeling abandoned: Jesus quotes from Psalm 22, begins with the words, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" It goes on to describe the speaker's experience of persecution and suffering, including being mocked and scorned by others. Despite this, the speaker expresses trust in God's ultimate protection and proclaims God's glory to others. This underscores the magnitude of Jesus' sacrifice and invites us to reflect on our own experiences of suffering and our trust in God's presence and protection.
Resources for Palm Sunday Year A (Passion Sunday)
This prayer is based on Psalm 22, which is the responsorial psalm for Palm Sunday Year A. 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?”
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. This could be used as a catechesis activity on Palm Sunday Year A
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. It can be used as reflection for Palm Sunday Year A.
Lenten Ideas for the 5th Sunday of Lent Year A
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.
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 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 A 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.
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.
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.
We are all familiar with the Passion story. We hear it every year on Palm Sunday Year A 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.
Homilies and Reflections for Palm Sunday Year A (Passion Sunday)
A video homily for Palm Sunday Year A from Bishop Robert Barron. "Friends, on Palm Sunday, the culminating point of Lent, the Church reads from one of the great Passion narratives from the synoptic Gospels. But I want to look at the second reading today—a passage from the second chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, the heart of which is a hymn or poem. These words go back to the very beginning of Christianity, and they serve as a beautiful summary statement of the faith. Paul is reflecting on the downward trajectory of the Son of God—all the way down into death itself, even death on a cross."
Jeff Cavins discusses the readings for Palm Sunday Year A, reflecting on the Tree of Life and Jesus being sentenced to death.
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. While not specifically for Palm Sunday Year A, it still covers similar themes.
A homily for Palm Sunday Year A from Bishop Robert Barron. "Today the Church proclaims the Passion of Christ. 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."
A reflection for Palm Sunday Year A from Scott Hahn. "'All this has come to pass that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled,' Jesus says in today’s Gospel (see Matthew 26:56). Indeed, 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." Continue reading.
More Thoughts for Palm Sunday Year A (Passion Sunday)
Suffering and Abandoned
As we enter into Holy Week, the readings for Palm Sunday Year A invite us to reflect on the depth of Jesus' sacrifice and the meaning of his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We see Jesus as a humble and peaceful king, riding on a donkey instead of a horse, surrounded by crowds of people who wave palm branches and shout his praises. This image reminds us of Jesus' identity as a powerful and beloved leader who comes to save us from sin and death.
At the same time, we are also reminded of the cost of Jesus' sacrifice. The Gospel reading from Matthew 26:14 - 27:66 describes the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion, including his betrayal by Judas Iscariot, his arrest and trial before the high priest, his denial by Peter, and his sentencing by Pilate. We see Jesus' selflessness and obedience, even in the face of intense suffering and humiliation.
The theme of feeling abandoned is also present in the readings. Jesus' cry of "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" in Matthew 27:46 reminds us of the depth of Jesus' suffering and his identification with all those who have ever felt abandoned or alone. Yet even in his darkest hour, Jesus expressed trust in God's ultimate protection and proclaimed God's glory to others.
Where Am I?
The readings on Palm Sunday Year A also provide us with 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 he 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.
Am I Willing to Follow?
As we further reflect on these readings for Palm Sunday Year A, we are invited to consider our own response to Jesus' sacrifice. Are we willing to follow his example of love, humility, and selflessness? Are we willing to trust in God's ultimate protection, even in the face of suffering and despair? These are difficult questions, but they are essential for our growth and our relationship with God.
As we journey through Holy Week, let us take time to reflect on the depth of Jesus' sacrifice and the meaning of his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. May we be inspired by his selflessness and obedience, and may we be strengthened in our commitment to follow him, even in the midst of adversity.
Reflection Questions for Palm Sunday Year A (Passion Sunday)
- What do you imagine it would have been like to be among the crowds that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday? How might you have responded?
- How do the readings for Palm Sunday challenge you to reflect on Jesus' identity as a humble and peaceful king who sacrificed himself for the salvation of humanity?
- In what ways do you identify with the people in the Passion narrative - Peter, Judas, the women at the foot of the cross, etc.? What do their experiences teach you about your own relationship with God?
- How does Jesus' cry of "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" in Matthew 27:46 speak to your own experiences of feeling abandoned or alone?
- How can you follow Jesus' example of love, humility, and selflessness in your own life, particularly during Holy Week and the Easter season?
- How can you cultivate a deeper sense of trust in God's ultimate protection and providence, even in the face of suffering and despair?
- How does the story of Palm Sunday and the events of Holy Week invite you to consider your own response to Jesus' sacrifice and your commitment to follow him?
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.
Music Suggestions for Palm Sunday Year A
- All Glory, Laud, and Honor by St. Theodulph
- Behold the Cross by Bob Hurd
- Behold the Lamb of God by Matt Maher
- Crown Him with Many Crowns by Elvey
- Hosanna by Hillsong United
- Hosanna / Praise Is Rising by Paul Bloche
- Hosanna to the Son of David by Dan Schutte
- Hosanna to the Son of David by Tom Booth
- Lead Me to the Cross by Hillsong United