premium website buildersThis Sunday, we will celebrate Palm Sunday which begins Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a humble donkey on which no one had yet sat. As He entered into Jerusalem, a very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut palm branches and strewed them on the road. This episode may appear meaningless to most of us but not to Jewish contemporaries of Jesus. The theme of the kingdom and its promises is ever-present in this entrance to Jerusalem. Pope Benedict XVI says that through this entry, Jesus is claiming the right of kings. (Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection, Benedict XVI) The palm branches symbolized triumph and victory. The use of a donkey on which no one had yet sat is a further pointer to the right of kings. The spreading out of garments likewise belongs to the tradition of Israelite kingship (cf. 2 Kings 9:13). Furthermore, St. Matthew’s account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem echoes and fulfills Zechariah 9:9 which reads: “Exult greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! Behold: your king is coming to you, a just savior is he, Humble, and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Jesus is the promised King mentioned in this passage of Zachariah.
The crowds preceding and following Jesus kept crying out: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” (Matthew. 21:9) Pope Benedict XVI points out that “in the Hosanna acclamation, we find an expression of the complex emotions of the pilgrims accompanying Jesus and of his disciples: joyful praise of God at the moment of the processional entry, hope that the hour of the Messiah had arrived, and at the same time a prayer that the Davidic kingship and hence God’s kingship over Israel would be reestablished.” (Ibid, 7) The word Hosanna thus becomes an expression of gratitude for salvation. All the points discussed above point out to Jesus’ salvific mission and the Kingdom of God. Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the King who has come to conquer our enemy, the ancient serpent, and to bring us back into His Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. In the garden of Eden, our enemy conquered our first parents on a tree and the gates of heaven were shut for all of us. During Holy Week, on Good Friday, Jesus conquered our enemy on the tree of the Cross, reconciling us to the Father. He opened wide the gates of Heaven for all of us. As we begin this Holy Week, may we unite ourselves closely to Christ through our actions, our personal prayers, and our participation in the Holy Week
Blessed Holy Week,
Fr. Robain Lamba