The holy week officially starts as Palm Sunday, celebrated last April 2, 2023. In places where that is hard to follow Jesus, it is a big struggle to celebrate such big holidays honoring the Lord.
Christians in Jerusalem have gathered on the Mount of Olives to re-live the moment when Jesus enters Jerusalem, which is the start of the Holy Week. Despite the struggle of being seen or having difficulties maintaining Christianity's status in the city amidst the expansion of Jewish settlements and acts of violence, hundreds of Christians came together with palm fronds and olive branches for the traditional procession.
Christians in Jerusalem Commemorates Palm Sunday
According to the article in Reuters, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, conveyed his hope that love and life would rule people's lives rather than violence after mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In this location, Christians believe Jesus was crucified and raised. Christians in Jerusalem pray for a peaceful and coexisting future in the Holy City as they celebrate Easter, a time to celebrate love and life.
Last year, the tension between the Palestinians and Israelis in the settled West Band had worsened. The Israeli forces have initiated a crackdown in response to deadly attacks by Palestinians in Israel. Violence against the Christian Community is also reported to have increased specifically because of the formation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's nationalist-religious government early this year.
Christian leaders worry that their position in Jerusalem is in danger since the harmony between the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities is no longer upheld. Concerns about the Christian community being squeezed because of the growth of Jewish communities around the Old City of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives have arisen. Some view Christians as mere visitors to the city rather than essential to its identity.
What is Palm Sunday, and Why is it Important to the Christian Community?
Palm Sunday is a significant event or celebration for the Christian community as it reminds everyone that the season of change and repentance already came. It commemorates the entry of Jesus to Jerusalem shortly, just before he was crucified. People that are present in his glorious entry offered palm fronds and clothing in his pathway as a sign of respect and praise.
According to the article in MSN, every year, millions of Christians observe Palm Sunday by attending church mass and offering their own designed palms to be blessed. Palm Sunday marks the last day of Lent but initiates the Holy Week, wherein is the Sunday before Easter. The Roman Catholic and Protestant churches are the major Christian denominations that strictly follow this celebration.
Some places in the U.S. also celebrate Palm Sunday. According to ABC7 Chicago, Christians gathered in Chicago's churches and on the streets to remember Jesus' victorious entry into Jerusalem as it is recorded in the New Testament. According to the Bible, people waved palm branches to welcome Jesus.
According to Cardinal Blase Cupich, the Passion asks people to contemplate within, be still, and listen for the Lord's messages. The parishioners of St. Mary on the Lake marched in a one-mile procession through Buena Park carrying statues of Jesus and Mary.