Thursday, August 16, 2018

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.  – John 12:12-19

The people of Jerusalem, at a share of them, were desperate to be saved so they shouted “Hosanna, Lord, save us!”  But the Messiah for whom they had prayed entered riding a donkey, an ancient Hebrew symbol for humility, not the mighty stallions of Roman centurions, but a donkey.  Yet, contrary to our images of war, the reality was that the Hebrews went to war not on horses but on donkeys, as odd as that image may seem.  So it could be proposed that Christ entered Jerusalem as humble king, a savior who came to establish the Peace and offer the ways that would lead to Peace.  He would come to ignite a revolution mounted not with vengeful swords but with unconquerable Love.

In Christ, we witness victory through the resolve of strong humility and the power to unite people through courageous self-sacrifice.  He would offer Himself through the sacrifice of self so that His Spirit would then be shared by the many.  He would not fight a futile rebellion of violence but instead an unconquerable movement of faith.

“Hosanna”, the desperate people shouted, people who had grown weary of the hypocrisy of Herod and the iron fist of Caesar, weary of religious leaders who took care of themselves and were indifferent to the poor and outcast, weary of soldiers who policed a harsh, cruel form of law-and-order.  And when the desperate people shouted, “HOSANNA!”, their cry echoed off the massive stones of Herod’s Temple and the Walls they had built, and Christ shouted back an encouragement …”FEAR NOT!”

The singer/songwriter Paul Simon penned this verse of his song, The Sound of Silence.

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made
And the sign flashed its warning,
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence

In the hard times in which Jesus of Nazareth came to serve as Messiah, I wouldn’t be surprised if that word, “HOSANNA!” had somehow been etched into the massive stones of Jerusalem.  And now and then, sadly rather consistently, the people have continued to cry, “Lord, save us!”

Always in Christ’s Service,

Fr. Charitas de la Cruz

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