Palm Sunday invites us to wear the garment of truth and justice.

Nigerian Bishop, Emmanuel Badejo, of Oyo Diocese shares his views about what Palm Sunday is saying to our world today.

Vatican News English Africa Service.

What, in your view, is it that makes Palm Sunday unique?

Palm Sunday is the celebration of the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, where he was to be crucified. Also known as Passion Sunday, it is the beginning of Holy Week, the holiest week in Christendom. Christians celebrate the most intense moments of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the first Sunday during the year when the faithful listen together during worship to the complete account of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What would you say is the particular significance of this Sunday?

The Bible teaches that Jesus embarked resolutely on his way to Jerusalem despite the fate that awaited him and, while there, spoke the truth courageously. Coming out to meet him in procession and triumph, the faithful carried palm fronds and branches in his honour, as we still do today. The gesture signifies victory and well-being. The palm tree is generally regarded as a provider of shade, shelter, beauty, stately dignity and even nourishment. Therefore, carrying it is a prayer and a desire for the sustainability of life and humanity. In Jerusalem, the people threw their palms in the path of Jesus in recognition of him as a servant leader and king.

What could be one of the takeaway message of Palm Sunday for our world today?

Palm Sunday and its relationship to the passion of Jesus Christ reminds us all that true glory is only found in self-giving and sacrifice. Sadly, many parts of the world today are in turmoil and suffer from selfish and unjust leaders. For example, in Nigeria, the only things that seem sustainable are corruption, injustice, hypocrisy, and impunity in high and low places. The country, however, needs courageous servant-leaders and individuals who, like Jesus, courageously speak the truth and live by it.

As Christians, what is our role?

Christians, Muslims and all others must ride the colt of courage at all times, wearing the garment of truth and justice, into this Jerusalem and speak the truth to all those who would suppress it. Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem affirms God’s sovereignty over all other powers. It challenges all leaders to lead with the fear of God, lay down their own lives in service and rather than exploit and destroy their own people for their selfish interests. It also invites all the citizens to recognize, applaud and support good, unselfish leaders who work for peace and reconciliation. Like the palm branches, we must all be bearers of shelter, beauty, life and sustenance to those we meet.