Today marks the start of the holiest week of the year for Catholics around the globe as the day commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when the crowd had palm branches.
Benedict XVI wrote:
The spreading out of garments belongs to the tradition of Israelite kingship (cf. 2 Kings 9:13). What the disciples do is a gesture of enthronement in the tradition of the Davidic kingship, and it points to the Messianic hope that grew out of the Davidic tradition.
The pilgrims who came to Jerusalem with Jesus are caught up in the disciples’ enthusiasm. They now spread their garments on the street along which Jesus passes.
They pluck branches from the trees and cry out verses from Psalm 118, words of blessing from Israel’s pilgrim liturgy, which on their lips become a Messianic proclamation: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!”
The Oscar-winning 1953 epic film “The Robe” tells the story of Marcellus (played by Richard Burton), a tribune in charge of the group assigned to crucify Jesus. He wins Jesus’ homespun robe after the crucifixion, and then must cope with what he’s done.
Victor Mature plays a slave, Demetrius, who has a moving experience on Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
This next clip is from “Gospel of John” that was released in 2003. John the Apostle recounts the life and times of Jesus.
Once again, from Benedict XVI:
All three Synoptic Gospels, as well as Saint John, make it very clear that the scene of Messianic homage to Jesus was played out on his entry into the city and that those taking part were not the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but the crowds who accompanied Jesus and entered the Holy City with him.
This point is made most clearly in Matthew’s account through the passage immediately following the Hosanna to Jesus, Son of David: “When he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying: Who is this? And the crowds said: This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee” (Mt 21:10–11). . . .
People had heard of the prophet from Nazareth, but he did not appear to have any importance for Jerusalem, and the people there did not know him.
The crowd that paid homage to Jesus at the gateway to the city was not the same crowd that later demanded his crucifixion.