Palm (Passion) Sunday Triumphal Entry – the Messiah is here!
Jesus traversed the towns and villages he had visited while he announced the Kingdom of God. All those years, Jesus had traveled on foot, but on this day, he requested his disciples to bring him a colt. They brought the colt to Jesus, and “they spread their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it.” (Luke 19.35). Then the procession down to Jerusalem began. His triumphal entry into Jerusalem occurred on a colt; Jesus quietly accepted the joyous welcome and praises of the people along the road. “As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road.”(Luke 19.36)
The branches on the road among the cloaks of these ordinary people provided a path of honor (like a Red Carpet today) to this man who had performed so many signs and miracles while announcing the Kingdom of God. These cloaks (probably their most dear possession) came directly from their backs, perfumed with the sweat of their labors. (I doubt they had gone to the Laundromat recently!) The waving Palm branches were an apt accompaniment to the spontaneous shouts of joy and praise in Jesus’ honor. Coming from the heart of a humble, everyday multitude (not the Pharisees or Sadducees!); they used the materials at hand to recognize the wonders, miracles and new teachings Jesus had been giving them. “As he was now approaching the path down from the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully, and with a loud voice, for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!..” (Luke 19.37-38).
Finally, the hope of the Jewish people is close at hand; they certainly felt it and understood it, albeit imperfectly. Only after the Resurrection would they remember, and begin to understand its full import.
This oh-so-brief episode reminded me that Jesus’ message about the Kingdom of God had found a place in the minds of ordinary people, even though it was not their own image of the longed-for messiah coming to save his people. They understood the gist of the message, but could not fathom the depths of it; yet the message has taken root – fragilely. Now there is a readiness for the message of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
This is for us an invitation to live our everyday life as fully as we are able, totally open to the love of God, this God who loves us so much, that he lived on earth. Something this wonderful made one want to be a part of it, whether out of curiosity or out of a vision of how things could be.
Jesus, help me to remember the dreams, hopes and joys of my life, and to praise and thank you for them. May events such as the triumphal entry carry me through the times of darkness and doubt and remind me to turn again my face toward you. Amen.
Submitted by Sr. Janice Fournier, p.m.