Commemoration of Lord’s Entrance into Jerusalem:
Psalms 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
What was begun on Ash Wednesday now reaches its ultimate conclusion in the holiest week of the Church’s year, what we call Holy Week. We are not unfamiliar with the events, or the characters, of Holy Week: Mary, Peter, John, Pilate, Herod, Joseph of Arimathea, etc. Yet, what does this commemoration truly mean for us? A majority of Catholics will find themselves in a crowded church on Easter Sunday, but they will miss the drama and the pathos of the liturgical celebrations that take place during the rest of the week.
All of my grammar to post-graduate education was Catholic, and so I can safely say that I was never in a classroom that did not have a crucifix on the wall. In religious classes of all kinds, the horror of the crucifixion was adequately portrayed in poorly executed paintings and holy cards, as well as in the biblical cinema popular in the fifties. I seldom found any of the images disturbing, because, after all, this was God who was suffering. It is as though I imagined that Jesus’ human nature was sufficiently anesthetized to the torture, so much so that He felt next to nothing in the final hours of His life.
We Catholics do a similar thing with Jesus’ mother, Mary, who we overly divinize making her immune to the sufferings and pains, challenges and difficulties, that accompanied being the Mother of God.
The holiest week we are about to begin starts with the account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, but the mood quickly changes with the passion account according to Luke which, like the other synoptic accounts, details the last hours of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Throughout his gospel, Luke emphasizes the prophetic dimension of Jesus’ life and death. Jesus is the one who, like the prophets of old, will suffer on account of His proclamation of the good news.
Jesus is the one spoken of by the prophet Isaiah in our first reading. As God’s Son, He has a “well-trained tongue,” and it is used to “speak to the weary a word that will rouse them,” a word that is good and joy-filled. Jesus does not rebel or renege on His determination to obediently do the will of the Father, and the Passion Narrative will show a Jesus who is beaten and scourged, and whose face was not shielded “from buffets and spitting.” It is during our listening to the Passion being proclaimed that we must remind ourselves that this Son of God who was sent into our world was fully human, who not only understood human suffering, but who knew the pain of human suffering.
The story of Jesus’ Passion is not just about Jesus, for it is our story also. It is why the psalmist in today’s responsorial psalm can write so convincingly of the pain inflicted on him by others, a pain so great that he feels “abandoned” by God (a feeling uttered by Jesus at the end of Mark’s Passion narrative: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!”). Although we only read the entire Passion narrative on Passion Sunday and on Good Friday, we enter into Christ’s suffering and death each and every time we celebrate the Eucharist. Indeed, the Eucharist serves as our most constant affirmation that we surrender ourselves in order that might might follow in the footsteps of Jesus, footsteps that will involve us in our own mini-Calvary, moments of pain, suffering, rejection, and death.
This holiest week of the Church’s liturgical year is meant to strengthen our resolve to embrace a suffering not of our own making, a suffering that may fill us with dread, while highlighting our hope, for like Jesus’ suffering, our suffering too will end in a resurrection, commencing a happiness which can never be completely found on earth.
1 thought on “Commemoration of Lord’s Entrance into Jerusalem:”
Seeing the horrible war in Ukraine as shown on TV for weeks now– has made me much more aware of all that Jesus suffered once he was ‘condemned to die’ at the hands of an uncaring, jealous government and Roman soldiers…
He carried His cross and Simon was willing to help Him… Veronica bravely wiped His face as a kind act—
He saw his Mother as she sorrowfully watched her Son suffer and die—He even gave her to us as our Mother!
The stations of the cross, as we know them, have been a meaningful way to remember – I made them my prayer this lent —to walk this last journey of Jesus — we can in a way – think about the stations and walk right along with Jesus .
He fell three times . He was stripped of his clothes — and He was nailed to a cross.
He spoke to the women of Jerusalem — ‘weep not for me but for yourselves and for your children! ‘
He gave His whole life for us—He died on a cross.
I hope and pray that the people of Ukraine will remember in their unimaginable undeserved suffering and deaths – what Jesus went through out of complete love for each of us — and that they and we too remember that He still loves us today!
Thank you, Jesus, for being with the people of Ukraine who suffer now during this passion week! We must be like Simon and help them to carry thier cross at this time!
Like Veronica we can be compassionate towards the suffering people! They need our help!
Do what we can to help ! We walk with JESUS as we walk with them! PEACE AND LOVE TO ALL THE WORLD! Amen. MARY JO