Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

Matthew 21:1-11Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29, D&C 93:35

The Collect: Heavenly Father: In your love towards the human race you sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross: grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility, and also be made partakers of his atonement; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

On Palm Sunday the Messiah is finally revealed. No more preaching in the Galilean backwaters. No more Messianic Secret. On Palm Sunday, Jesus publicly enacts the prophecy of Zechariah concerning the Messiah:

“Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

No doubt his disciples went before in order to gather crowds, perhaps with tales of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. This is a Jesus supremely confident. The colt is not to be bought or borrowed but simply taken as befitting “the Lord.” He expects the crowds and makes no effort to subdue their fervour. He is Christ and his time has come.

His target is the temple, which, like the cursed fig tree was green with leaf but barren and without fruit. The temple is the holy house on the hill, white and resplendent as it looms over the city. This is the goal of every Jewish pilgrim but Jesus finds it wanting. Throughout Holy Week we must keep this temple and all that it stands for in view: it was not before Pilate that Jesus demonstrated but before the religious authorities of his own people. His animus towards the entrenched and the spiritually corrupt is what will get him killed, while offering us his love and community as a new temple along the way.

On Palm Sunday we welcome Jesus to our Jerusalem. Pointing to ourselves we say, “This is the gate of the Lord; he who is righteous may enter.” Jesus then goes to our temple, so beautiful from afar. What will he find there tonight? The priests no doubt believed their temple was holy, but it was defiled in ways their pride could not imagine.




  1. Thank you. A good start to what is likely to be a long day.

  2. Jason K. says:

    Between this and your sermon from the other day, you’ve given us a good start on Holy Week. Thanks, Ronan.

  3. powerful stuff

  4. Great stuff Ronan. I like the cheeky – but incisive – parallel between Herod’s temple and those we attend today. I have been reading through all of last year’s Holy Week posts, and I can’t wait to read and ponder everything you all come up with this time around.

  5. Ah, on second reading, it would probably have been more accurate to read you as drawing a parallel between the ancient temple and the ‘temple’ of our individual bodies, huh? Regardless, I like both parallels as provocative and productive paradigms for likening those sections of scripture unto ourselves.

  6. Thank You! I needed this as I sit in my Sacrament Meeting and beyond the Sacrament itself not one mention of Christ is made today…

  7. The Weelkes is the bane of our choir. Never understood why we didn’t do the Gibbons more often.