Below is the Tract for the Palm Sunday Mass. The text comes from Psalm 21 and begins "Deus, Deus meus, respice in me: quare me dereliquisti?" ("My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?") These words from Psalm 21, of course, are uttered by Christ from the Cross on Good Friday, and thus make them especially apt for the Palm Sunday liturgy, which begins Holy Week and anticipates the Christ's Passion, death, and Resurrection celebrated in the Paschal Triduum beginning on Holy Thursday.
At Mass today, our parish sang a very dignified version of the Responsorial Psalm, which featured mostly the same text from Psalm 21 sung in English. Even so, the Responsorial Psalm (which is much simpler in form so that the congregation can join in the singing of the antiphon) lacks the beauty, dignity, and contemplative nature of the Tract. I can understand why a simpler version of the Tract or a simple Responsorial Psalm is at times advantageous, but these melismatic Tracts and Graduals are our patrimony and--as Vatican II proclaims regarding Gregorian Chant--are a treasure of inestimable value. May they one day be restored to their rightful place of honor in the liturgy, to the glory of God and for the benefit of the faithful.