We are beginning our most solemn week in the Christian calendar – Holy Week. Today we commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem amid the cheers of the adoring crowd, throwing down their cloaks, waving palms and singing hosannas. From the earliest time in our history Christians have traveled to the Holy Land to remember our Lord’s entry into the city and wave branches of some kind. This practice eventually spread to all the churches, and we still gather to begin our high holydays with palms in our hands listening to the Gospel story of his fulfillment of prophecy. His ride into Jerusalem on that day was to reveal to the nations that he was the Messiah and King that was foretold by the prophets. We find in Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Riding into the capital city, Jerusalem, having the people worship and praise him seems so contradictory to what transpires just days later. But the people had certain expectations of what a Messiah should be. Many of the people awaited a liberator who would lead them in a massive revolt against the Roman occupiers. When he did not conform to their image of him their shouts of praise and love soon turned to shouts of “Crucify Him!”Those who hailed him a hero would soon reject and abandon him. Perhaps sometimes we reject our Lord when he does not conform to our expectations of him.
Let us enter the city of Jerusalem with him spiritually this holy week. Let us enter into the journey from the Last Supper to the betrayal, trial, suffering and death to the stone laid cross his grave. As we attend the liturgy of the Triduum, we enter the journey with our Messiah and King toward his glorious Resurrection!