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Thoughts on Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is when we Christians, commemorate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It ushers the start of the Holy Week. The Church calls this a Holy Week as it is a sacred time for Christians to reflect on the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I could vividly remember how my family in the Philippines celebrate Palm Sunday.

A day before the celebration my mother or my elder siblings will go to the market and buy these "ramos" (in Ilonggo, my dialect) or "palaspas" (in Pilipino) palm fronds that are shaped into different designs.

The origami designs could be a cross, a heart, a bird (or a chick), a sphere (or an egg) and tiny triangles (perhaps to symbolize the three main events of the Holy Week: Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus).

 

The following day, Palm Sunday, we would attend the Mass with our lovely palm fronds.
We, the children, would start getting restless on our seats while waiting for that part of the Mass when the priest would walk down the aisles, followed by his altar (or water) boy, and would bless our "green treasures."

As soon as this blessing ceremony unfolds, we would enthusiastically hold our palm fronds up high and would even dare waving them in the air to get the attention of the priest. Our adult companions' ears or napes get tickled or pricked by our ready-to-take-off palm fronds, but we were blind to their discomforts.

 

Once we saw and felt some droplets of the holy water landing on our skin and palm fronds, we'd smile up to our ears because we knew that together with our "ramos" we were blessed.


Opposite is a photo of these palm fronds.

Photo courtesy of the online newspaper - "The Philippine Inquirer."

When we reached home our beloved mother would collect these blessed palm fronds and tack them to the main door of the house and to the bedroom doors.

She would tell us that these would protect our house from being hit by lightning, as well as they would ward off harm and evil.

palm fronds

With our childlike innocence and faith, we did not dare to ask her "how would these simple palm fronds that are placed indoors become an effective lightning rods?" Well, we just simply believed her and she was right – our house was never hit by lightning and we grew up in a safe environment.

I have continued this tradition of keeping the blessed "palm fronds" (or rather branches of Swiss pine trees or this plant with leaves similar to an olive tree) inside our Swiss home.

But, I don't tack them behind doors instead they are neatly arranged in a flower vase. With the building's lightning rod plus the invisible presence of God, now I've got a triple insurance against lightning, I suppose.

 

Recollection Day
On April 16, together with some of my Filipino friends, I attended a recollection day in Canton Solothurn, northwest of Switzerland.

It was held in the lovely premises of the Seraphisches Liebeswerk Solothurn, a religious community of nuns which plays an active and very important role in helping Filipino migrants in Switzerland. Fr. Joe Q., a Filipino Jesuit priest with a very contagious sense of humor, was the recollection speaker.

This year's theme was "Verbum Domini" or the The Word of the Lord
We were reminded of our spiritual and material riches, our human fickleness, our personal relationship with God and that "the Bible is not simply a word from the past, but a living and timely word."

Another thought-provoking message that raised our spirits up was - the importance of an unconditional giving of ourselves to our loved ones, friends and the people around us … just like Jesus' perfect love for us.

Finally, let's sit back, relax and enjoy this beautiful and powerful song
You Raise Me Up performed by Celtic Woman.

Play Music music

Luzette Simpson - April 17, 2011