At the beginning of the last week of his life, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was a singular moment of joy and triumph, as his followers celebrated what they believed to be the beginning of the reign of the king of Israel. Yet the joy was fleeting. In Luke’s account, as Jesus approached Jerusalem, he wept for it, foretelling its utter destruction by the Romans forty years later. Thus Holy Week begins with a mixture of rejoicing and foreboding; the triumphal procession is the beginning of the final journey to the cross.

The feeling of the day was captured well by Henry Hart Milman in a hymn written in 1820.