St. Vincent Ferrer on Palm Sunday

From a Sermon for Palm Sunday

Here note the six differences of today’s joy as opposed to the six sorrows of Good Friday.
The first sadness, because on Good Friday the holy bells are not rung, they are silenced. Because in the passion and death of Christ, the bells, i.e. the apostles whose sound of preaching goes out to the whole world, according to the prophecy of David, lose their sound, because none dared to announce Christ, moreover the greater bell, namely Peter was broken by denying Christ, nor did John who was next to the cross dare to say anything in Christ’s behalf. But today, considering the ultimate benefit of the passion of Christ we make a great solemnity, ringing the bells.

The second sadness, because then the tables are struck, a sound of sadness and pain, and it symbolizes the sound of derision and blasphemy which they heaped on Christ in the passion. But today the priests sing with a high and clear voice. Reason: because of the passion of Christ, the souls of the blessed shall sing with the angels in glory.

The third sadness is this. On Good Friday the holy images, crosses and icons are hidden and covered, just as in the passion of Christ, the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalen and John and others covered their heads out of grief and sadness. They could not gaze upon the cruel passion of Christ. But today the cross is held high, solemnly, in a sign of the benefits of the passion of Christ.

The fourth sadness is because on Good Friday, the holy passion is commemorated with tears and sorrows, to show the tears and sighs of the Virgin Mary and the others. But today it is remembered with joy and gladness because of its ultimate usefulenss.

The fifth sadness is because on Good Friday, people prostrate themselves, shoes off, grieving, and many fast on bread and water. But today people walk in procession with great joy, well dressed, carrying branches in their hands which signify the victory which we have over our enemies by the passion of Christ.

The sixth sadness, because then the passion is sung without any procession and order, for the apostles were dispersed, separated and divided. But today a solemn procession takes place, and we all go, gathered and ordered, because from the passion of Christ we all are united and gathered. John 6 says that Christ was to die “to gather together in one the children of God, who were dispersed,” (Jn 11:52). So we sing with joy: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” (v. 9).

From Fr. Albert G. Judy, O.P.’s translation of St. Vincent Ferrer’s homily for Palm Sunday.