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From Palms to Passion • Breaking Open the Word at Home

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This Sunday April 14, begins Holy Week—the most solemn and important week of our liturgical year. It is the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, and the entrance of the Church into the Paschal Mystery. We have two Gospels that express two natures of our relationship with God.

by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

This is one of the strangest days of the liturgical year. There are two Gospels, we get palms to wave around, we help read the second Gospel and, in some cases, we are invited to walk together in procession (this palm procession is a precursor to the Eucharistic Procession we participate in on Holy Thursday and the Veneration of the Cross procession on Good Friday).

We begin Mass by praising Jesus as he enters Jerusalem for the last time, only to shout, “Crucify him!” a few minutes later. It is a reminder of how fickle we can be—we look to God when we need him, and forget about, or even denounce him when he is inconvenient. But, as fickle as we are, God is always faithful. We are shown Jesus’ great love for us as he offers himself to us—takes whatever we will choose to do—and what we choose is inconsistent: sometimes we choose to praise, trust and welcome him, sometimes we choose ingratitude, fear and isolation. The best part of the message is that no matter what we do, when we’re ready to receive it, God always brings new life, reconciliation and mercy to us.


Luke 19:28-40
They proclaimed: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Isaiah 50:4-7
The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.

Psalm 22
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Philippians 2:6-11
Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Luke 22:14-23:56
Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last.

You can read this Sunday’s readings here:

Scriptures for Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Cycle C

Break Open the Word with Your Family


The palms that we received in Church today are kind of like the foam #1 fingers you get at a sports event. The people waved them at Jesus to say, “You’re number 1!” We keep them in our house to remind us of how important Jesus is to us. Where would you like to put them in your house to remind you of how important Jesus is to you?


What was it like for you to shout “Crucify him” and to have all of the “bad guy” lines in the Gospel? Where do you think you would have fallen in that story if you were there? Would you be Peter? One of the apostles that hid?  The women and beloved disciple who stayed by him?


Consider the things that Jesus said when he was on the cross. What do they say about the way that God loves us? What do they say about how we should be living mercy?

A little lectio

The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.

A little Bible study

Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:

  • During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
  • Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
  • Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
  • Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
  • If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)

For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.

The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”

Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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