for Sunday, March 28, 2010
Today we commemorate the hour when Jesus entered the Holy City of Jerusalem for the last time. This Holy City was to be the place where his ministry on earth would be brought to its culmination, to its cataclysmic and glorious conclusion.
Here he would suffer and die and rise again. Here would take place the most significant events in the whole history of the world. Here the Son of God would bring about the salvation of mankind. Here God would visit his people and let his glory be made manifest.
But what did those simple people know who cut down their palms, spread their cloaks in the road and waved and cheered as Christ passed in the street.
They knew something great was about to happen to Jesus who was real a hero to them - someone who had always stuck up for the poor and cured them of all their ills. If they were going to have a King then who better to have this wise, sincere and holy man than a despot like the ones they were so used to.
They did not know that something much greater was to happen. They did not know that they were participating in events which would transform the world forever. And yet there they are in the streets cheering and waving their palms.
For the 1977th time the Church commemorates the entry of Christ into Jerusalem. We do so in a much more sober way than those people of Jerusalem whom we attempt to imitate. But the joy in our hearts is no less sincere since it is based in the knowledge of what came after; those earth shattering events whose consequences uniquely reverberate both backwards and forwards through time.
We rejoice, but we do so in a quiet way because today in our liturgy and in our personal prayer we begin that terrible last journey together with Jesus. We follow him every inch of the way from the gates of Jerusalem, to the Upper Room, to the Garden of Gethsemane, to the steps of the Praetorium, to the hill of Calvary and then to the tomb in the garden where he gloriously rose from the dead.
This greatest journey of all begins today with the entry of Jesus into the Holy City of Jerusalem. It was in those days already a Holy City since it contained the Temple built at the command of God. But by that triumphant entry and the events of the next week it was to become even holier.
But this was a holiness that could not be contained by those gates; the events that occurred there transformed the world and have made each place a holy place and each person a redeemed child of God.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: