Unconventional Palms for an Unconventional Time

On the next day, when the great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm branches and went out to meet him and cried out: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” – John 12:12-13

Sunday is Palm Sunday—a day to remember how those in Jerusalem venerated Christ as He entered the city. Though a traditional Palm Sunday is not what we will have this year, we should not despair. Instead, we should look to the hope of the Risen Christ, who is among us and who will always remain among us. We must look to Him for strength, for love, and for guidance as we work to build a culture of life in our homes and communities—even during these difficult times.

My parish will actually be handing out palms for people to come and pick up so that we will have them when we watch Mass on Sunday. This gesture may seem small to others, but it made my heart happy and helped me feel at peace knowing that I could still have this visible sign of celebration.

But it also got me thinking about what we truly need in life versus what we want. It got me thinking about the proverbial palms we can wave when we don’t have the real ones. And it got me thinking about the things we might be spending time waving those proverbial palms at that distract us from God.

Because not all of us will have access to real palms, we must think about how we can venerate Christ without them on Sunday. But why stop there? Though Palm Sunday is a day to physically wave palms, shouldn’t we wave “palms” at Christ every day?

Christ came here to die for us and to save us from our sins. This complete and total act of love is not something we earned. It’s something He freely gave. In turn, we must spend our lives venerating Him with “palms” on a daily basis. But do we do that? Or do we wave our “palms” at things unworthy of our accolades—things we put before God or things that keep us from getting to know Him better? In other words, are we spending too much time venerating things of this world rather than Christ?

Furthermore, if we are only waving palms at Christ once a year, we are doing it wrong. We must wave palms at Him every single day—multiple times each day! So, this Palm Sunday, let us devise a new kind of palm—a new way to show our veneration of Christ. These palms can be anything—our prayers, our good deeds toward others, our kind words, our love for our fellow man, our respect for people from creation until death, and so on.

Do something concrete to show your love of Christ. Venerate Him with prayers and fasting. Venerate Him with good deeds: Give an extra tip to the grocery store clerk or delivery driver who’s working so that you can have food on your table. Venerate Him among your family and read the Bible together. Watch a movie about the Passion of Christ. Venerate Him with your words on social media. Let the world know that Palm Sunday is just one day out of 365 that you choose to venerate our Lord.

Just as the Apostles had hope that Christ would rise, we too have hope that these trying times will soon end. But this amount of time we must spend in isolation is merely a drop in the ocean when we think about eternity with Christ. So let us never forget why we are here and what we must do to attain heaven. And let every day be a day that we venerate Christ and say to Him, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

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About the author

Susan Ciancio

Susan Ciancio is an editor for American Life League and lives with her three children in Knoxville, Tennessee.