Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 21:9)
Today we join the crowd on the road to Jerusalem. We watch as they spread their coats and palm branches before Jesus, the humble king of Israel. We hold our own palms high and cry “Hosanna!” to welcome our coming king.
And today Jesus comes, not clothed in regal robes or seated on a magnificent stallion, but riding on a lowly donkey. He enters Jerusalem and enters our hearts, not as a warrior, but as a servant king. He comes bringing peace, as a Messiah who will lay down his life for his people. We know the answer to the question posed by the people of Jerusalem: “Who is this?” (Matthew 21:10). We know that Jesus is more than a prophet, more than a brilliant teacher, more than a miracle worker.
We know that he is the Son of God and our Lord. In the words of St. Andrew of Crete, monk, bishop, and hymn writer from the seventh and eighth centuries, Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. . . . Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. . . . Let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves. (Sermon for Palm Sunday, Oratio 9)
During this holiest of weeks, let’s thank Jesus for his passion and death. Let’s lay down our lives like palms at his feet, in humble obedience. Let’s adore him with songs of praise for his mercy.
Almighty ever-living God, who as an example of humility for the human race to follow caused our Savior to take flesh and submit to the Cross, graciously grant that we may heed his lesson of patient suffering and so merit a share in his Resurrection.