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The story of Palm Sunday, following the chronology of John’s gospel, records Jesus’ entering into Jerusalem, the Holy City, city of prophets and kings, site of God’s temple, just before Jesus’ passion and death.

Crowds excited by the news of Lazarus raised from the dead welcomed him. Some were natives of Jerusalem, some pilgrims for the Passover from other parts of the world, some his disciples now convinced of his extraordinary power. Most misunderstood him still.

“God save the Son of David!” they cried, casting coats and palm branches before him as he approached the city gates. They wanted a new David to breathe life into their nation. Wearing David’s mantle he could liberate them this Passover, the feast of Jewish liberation.

John’s gospel records that Jesus rejected the call to be their warrior king. Mounting a young donkey, he rode into Jerusalem, fulfilling the prophecy of Zephaniah: “Fear not, Daughter of Sion, your king is coming, mounted on a donkey’s colt.”

Not a fearsome warrior, he was the humble king the prophet described. In Jerusalem he would open his arms to the poor outcasts of the world.

“At the time his disciples did not understand this…” John concludes.

Prayer:

And do we yet understand,

Lord Jesus,

as the year go by

and we hear the story again?

Can a poor man on a donkey

dying like a slave

succeed?

We like success so much,

the kind you feel and touch

and put your hands on

right away.

What success

can anyone find

in a Cross?

Or is there success

in faithfulness?

When you can say:

“Your will be done!”

“Father, forgive them.”

Like the two from Emmaus

we hope for easy gain.

Come walk at our side,

and tell us what matters most,

O Lord.

Based on Meditations and Prayers by Victor Hoagland, C.P.

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