It starts with Hosanna! and ends with Crucifixion. Palm Sunday is a liturgy that transports us into the tragedy and triumph of Jesus Christ. In the same manner that the Jews waved palms during The Lord’s entry into Jerusalem, we also take them up at Mass. They also laid down their cloaks for the Messiah as an act of veneration and submission. What cloak will you lay down as you take up your palm this weekend? Here are a few suggestions:

1. The Cloak of Me

Pope Francis opened up the Sistine Chapel for a very exclusive private viewing…for the homeless. Rather than this chapel being seen simply as a museum of art for paying tourists, or a cultural treasure that should be left to the intellectuals, the holy father visited under most famous ceiling with those who have no roof over their heads.

So often, we can cloak ourselves in not wanting to be bothered. We don’t want to reach outward. We don’t even really want to see the other person as a person. The pope reminds us that living our lives really isn’t about living the dream, it’s about living for others. It’s often in the other, with a purely disposed heart, that we shall see God. Palm Sunday is a good reminder to shed the cloak of pride and take on the beatitudes.

2. The Cloak of Later

I’ll get around to that rosary. The adoration chapel is just so far from my house. Father won’t want to be bothered by my silly question. Mass is usually so boring, I’m not even going to try.

Spiritual procrastination is real, y’all. Those are the little whispers that aren’t just keeping us from the gym, they’re also keeping us from two way communication with God. Satan likes to ride a fledgling wave of sloth and swell it right as we’re on the cusp of making a definitive move towards the Lord. Palm Sunday is a good day to fight (and win) the battle for prayer.

3. The Cloak of Temporary Conversion

There is a common misconception that Lent is a time for temporary goodness. Often, once the penance isn’t required, there is opposite reaction after the season is over. Actually, we’re supposed to emerge from Lent with a little more spiritual savvy than when we entered.

Penance is the vehicle for learning a little bit more about what my “tells” are when tempted. It’s a way to discover how I am prone to fall. If I’ve (more or less) managed to keep my penance, it’s a way to rejoice for God’s graces given and to reflect on how I feel more regularly practicing virtue. Rather than only seeing a turn back to the Lord as temporary, conversion should change our heart so that it emerges from the tomb with a renewed love for God and neighbor. Use Palm Sunday to make a little examination to launch you into Holy Week.

Throw a Cloak, Take a Palm Sunday

There are many more cloaks that we throw over our shoulders, but these three serve as reminders that they need not cover us any longer. If these, or other cloaks, are threatening to suffocate us – cast them to the ground for the Lord to tread upon! Give these cloaks to Him! This frees us to truly wave our palms with the zeal of a disciple and to cry Hosanna! for the Lord passes before us on the way to our salvation. What other cloaks are on your shoulders?