Monday, April 25, 2011

What I observed on Palm Sunday this year

Besides Ash Wednesday, another major milestone leading to the celebration of Easter is Palm Sunday which marks the triumphant and grand entrance of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.

The significance of this event is the laying down of the branches of trees; or palm leaves as Jesus rides into the town on a little donkey.
Back then, riding on a donkey was viewed as a more peaceful gesture compared to the might and possible threat of war when a horse trots in.
The act of the people laying down their cloaks and also the branches of trees, was also a form regarded as the highest honor for someone in certain parts of the east at that time too.

The people worshipped Jesus and was singing songs of praise and blessings to welcome Jesus into their humble town.

Palm, is a symbol of victory and triumph, as traditionally used then and continues to mark the symbolic event of Palm Sunday today.

Palm Sunday occurs the Sunday before Easter, and usually parishioners (church-goers) would be required to bring their own palms to be blessed by the priest and sing praises to commemorate this day.
Today, the Church provides the palm leaves for the convenience of the parishioners.

Holding the palm branch in our hands, we would then gather outside the church where we joined the priest in singing praises to the Lord in his Highest Name.
A procession of the congregation led by the priest would then follow into the church's building for the mass ceremony.

It is a standard sequence of the celebration and every born/practising Catholic has definitely experienced this more than once in their lifetime if not annually.

This year, I observed an ugly side to the parishioners at the Church while collecting the free palm branches provided by the Church.
I will not name which church; as it is not appropriate to do so.

The palm branches were scatttered on the bench in a separate hall/old building, where the congregation were gathering.
It was a huge crowd and people were standing there to join in the chorus of worship while there were still people making their way through the crowd towards the distribution area of the palm branches.

Due to the crowd, it is definitely best to just pick your palm branch and make way for those behind you to take one of the branches as well.

Imagine my horror as I saw some women (and even men!) standing there, and blocking others as they choose from the palm branches and throwing some of the palm branches back on the bench.
It was really disheartening to see such display of people who are there to attend a holy mass and to be part of God's children.

Sometimes, it makes me wonder, do some people really understand the purpose of going to church to worship?
Putting on your best behavior only in front of the priest and other people does not work, as God is everywhere.
I have seen worse displays of behaviors of the people in this church, which I'd rather not mention.

I hope that there would be more awareness on the meanings of the celebration in the Church and also on being part of the Church and God's people.

Being a Catholic is to be one who practises one's beliefs everywhere and to promote good behavior; not just one for exhibition when needed.

Repent and reflect, at all times...

God bless everyone!~

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