Reginald Fuller, the late, great Biblcial scholar, says that one can’t preach the Liturgy of the Palms on Palm Sunday and must, instead, preach the Passion.
“Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, while doubtless the major theme of this Sunday in popular estimation, is both historically and liturgically merely a subsidiary theme, serving only as a prelude to the passion. Any homily dealing with the entry into Jerusalem should make this clear.” – read the rest here.
And with all due respect, I can’t help but disagree. The Passion Narrative has it’s rightful place across Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, but we don’t get there without the “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem. Jesus doesn’t end up on a cross without shouts of “Hosanna!”
I’ve noted before how disfunctional I find the Palm Sunday service. I know the tradition is there to read the Passion, but I know the tradition is there to tell the story of Jesus’ entrance to the place where he would ultimately die. I think both stories are worth telling, and they need not, and really should not, be crammed together as if we don’t have time to really care about either one.
The onset of Holy Week is not about rushing to Easter with its egg hunts, baskets, crawfish boils, and oodles of peanut butter candies. It is about taking our time; walking with Jesus in his last week and ultimately seeing the depth of God’s love on Good Friday. We’ll get there eventually, but until then, let’s be present as our Lord rides into Jerusalem on a donkey.