Reflecting on Palm Sunday, the feast that commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, also called Passion Sunday, Bishop Badejo explains how the carrying of the branches is a prayer for the sustainability of life.
“The Bible teaches that Jesus embarked resolutely on his way to Jerusalem in spite of the fate that awaited him and spoke the truth courageously. Coming out to meet him in procession and exultation, the faithful carried palm fronds and branches in his honor, as is still done today,” he says.
The gesture of carrying branches in Jesus’ honor, he further say, "signifies victory and well-being, as the palm tree is normally regarded as a provider of shade, shelter, beauty, stately dignity and even nourishment.”
The carrying the fronds in procession is “a prayer and a desire for sustainability of life and humanity," the 60-year-old Nigerian Bishop who has been at the helm of Oyo Diocese since November 2009 says.
"In Jerusalem, the people threw the palms in the path of Jesus in recognition of him as a servant leader and king," he recalls, and adds, “Like the palm branches, we must all be bearers of shelter, beauty, life and sustenance to those we meet.”
Palm Sunday, Bishop Badejo says, "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."
The Sunday that ushers in the Holy Week "invites all the citizens to recognize, applaud and support good, unselfish leaders who work for peace and reconciliation,” the Catholic Church leader who has been a member of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication since his appointment last December says.
“Everybody has a 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,” Bishop Badejo says.
He adds, “Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem affirms God’s sovereignty over all other powers.”
Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.