Friday, 26 March 2010

Palm Sunday - the Triumphant entry into Jerusalem

Still at the tale end of essays, and one more to finish before Easter (2 down 2 to go!). So I am lazy, and rehashed my reflection for Palm Sunday of last year...

The Gospel this Sunday is the passion narrative of the Gospel of Luke (Lk 22:14-23:56). However, I will take the passage which is read with the blessing of the palms as it is more relevant to Palm Sunday and I will reflect more on the passion on Good Friday. So the we take Lk 19:28-40.

We read in this passage about the entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem, five days before His death. It starts with the two disciples who are sent out to get the colt on which "no one has ever yet sat(Luk 19:30 RSV) to be used for His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. After they got the cold, many spread their garments on the road before him, "As he was now drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen" (Luk 19:37 RSV) saying "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (Luk 19:38 RSV). We can easily hear the resounding of the prophesy of Zechariah:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass. (Zec 9:9 RSV)

It is interesting I think to look at this in the light of the gospel of the Saturday before Palm Sunday, when we are told that the council of the chief priests and the Pharisees decided to put Jesus to death and "Jesus therefore no longer went about openly among the Jews, but went from there to the country near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim; and there he stayed with the disciples." (Joh 11:54 RSV)

So there is defiantly a sense in the air of something extraordinary happening here, as after have been at a distance before the feast, and the people even wondering if he would come (Jn 11:56) Jesus suddenly makes His entrance into Jerusalem, boldly riding on a donkey. Something is going to happen it seems...

For our lives this is an interesting concept. The priests seemed to want to kill Jesus, and subsequent he goes away "in hiding". Things seem to go bad, and the people are wondering what is going to happen. Then suddenly he makes a big spectacle during his entry, even though the young donkey was never ridden on and therefore possibly rough and no fancy sadle was available but some old garments, but still, suddenly there seems to be a spark of hope. Not all is perfect, but something seems to be moving and the people sing "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (Luk 19:38 RSV) their hopes being revived for the iminent coming of the Kingdom of David! On a rebuke of some of the Pharisees Jesus says that  "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out." (Luk 19:40 RSV)

Then however, as we know now, and will explore during the next week, things take a sudden turn again...

Imagine going through this all, it seems to me that it would feel like a roller coaster, going up one moment, going down the next, swerving left and then suddenly right... life can be a bit like that, things might be difficult, but suddenly everything seems to come together, prayers are answered, the excitement is tangible. But then however, even though everything seemed to go the right way, it does not materialize, and after some time of hope and anticipation the excitement wears of and we seem to be back at start, our hopes evaporated and our prayers seemingly unanswered...

However, the above is just our human understanding, and if the above example strikes a cord maybe this Holy Week it would be worth to meditate on what actually happened nearly two thousand years ago. It shows us that we should be patience, with God an ourselves, and acknowledge that we don't know everything, and not everything becomes instantly clear. Never-mind the human perception, but look at the infinite, the divine perception... as we will travel though the week the human perception shows defeat, failure, betrayal and denial... but the greatest accomplishment in heaven and earth occurs in the middle of this all, the triumph of love, but unnoticed by everyone bar maybe the few (e.g. the mother of Jesus and Jesus himself of course): Jesus purchased for us eternal life!

The world would never be the same again, and even though it seemed like everything was a failure from the outside, in the scope of the bigger picture unalterable changes had occured! So too whould we reflect on our lives, and see the bigger picture and learn to trust on God, as Jesus did...

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