Homily for Palm Sunday - Year A - Mt. 21:1-11


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem. When they came to Bethphage, near the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, 'Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If any one says anything to you, you shall say, "The Lord has need of them," and he will send them immediately.' This took place to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 'Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass.' (Zach. 9:9)


"The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the ass and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he sat thereon. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!'


"And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, 'Who is this?' And the crowds said, 'This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.' "





Homily:


"Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem."


Jesus approaches Jerusalem with his disciples. For the time is fulfilled: it is the hour of glory and ignominy! Glory first, and then ignominy. Jesus will first be acclaimed by the crowd; we might even say it was a delirious crowd. Then, Jesus will be booed, decried, definitively rejected by the very same people who had first acclaimed him. Is this paradoxical? Not completely...


Let us look at what usually happens today, especially in Europe, where churches are infrequently attended or are being transformed into cultural monuments. What is happening? We were baptized, we made our first communion, sometimes we are also confirmed, and then nothing more, except perhaps marriage, if one does not choose to live in concubinage...


That is what happens! We acclaim Jesus for a certain time, and then, nothing... We pray a little, and then we let everything drop... This has been repeated from age to age, for this is not something that has first occurred in the present day. Jesus has warned us several times: "Many are called, but few are chosen." (Mt. 22:14) This is true for every age and every generation, today, yesterday and tomorrow...


"When they came to Bethphage, near the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, 'Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If any one says anything to you, you shall say, "The Lord has need of them," and he will send them immediately.' This took place to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 'Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass.' (Zach. 9:9)"


Jesus will enter Jerusalem like a King, like the Great King of the Universe! Now, this royal, triumphal entry is a sign that Jesus is giving us: it is a unique sign, one that will not be repeated, and one for which there had not been preparations long in advance; in brief, it is a prophetic sign, a proclamation from the Spirit of God! It is, in fact, a sign that announces and that already realizes, in a certain way, the Return of Christ at the end of time.


We can thus discern what the Lord expects of us if we want to prepare for his Return in Glory. For we are all invited to prepare for this unique event. Indeed, we say each Sunday in the Creed: "I look for the resurrection of the dead." We look for the Resurrection of the dead! How do we do this? By accomplishing precisely what Jesus commanded his disciples to do...


"The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them."


What must we do? Quite simply, we must bring about the rule of order. Thus, Jesus said to his disciples: "If any one says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them.' " The disciples must therefore be ready to make sure that the orders that they themselves received from the Lord are respected. This is the only task that they must accomplish... This is the only thing that will allow the preparation of his triumphal entry into Jerusalem...


When order attains a certain perfection, peace reigns. For peace is "tranquillitas ordinis", the tranquillity of order. And when man enters into the heavenly Jerusalem, he is forever in the Peace of God! To proclaim his Return to earth, through his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus wants a sign of Peace! "When people say, 'There is peace and security'..." (1 Thess. 5:3)


"They brought the ass and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he sat thereon. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!' "


It is magnificent, it is triumphant, it is majestic, but at the same time it is simple and humble! For Jesus remains what he is: the Savior of men, the Saint par excellence, the model of all virtues! Jesus is honored as a king, as the Son of David! And he deserves this. The road is strewn with palm branches and clothing! Nothing is too good for the Lord! It will be the same at the celebration of the first Eucharist: the room will be beautiful and well-decorated (cf. Lk. 22:12).


But let us not forget all those who are present there. More than the decorations and the clothing strewn here and there in the Lord's path, it is hearts and spirits that make Jesus rejoice in that moment of glory! Notably, the Mother of Jesus is there... Let us follow her and imitate her: during this Eucharist, let us acclaim Jesus in our heart!


When the moment of the Great Eucharistic Prayer comes, let us think of Jesus entering Jerusalem and let us all say with a single heart: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"



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