“Cease fearing, O daughter of Sion, behold, thy King cometh, sitting on a colt of an ass.” [Jn. 12:15] Today we here the prophecy repeated from Zechariah written over 400 years before our Lord’s entrance into the holy city.
The great kings of the earth come and bring destruction and devastation riding on an experienced war horse amongst a parade of solders. Our Great King comes riding alone into the holy city on a colt of an ass, an animal of peace, one never before ridden. And this is only meet and right, for the name ‘Jerusalem’ means ‘the City of Peace’; Christ alone, the King of Peace, is therefore Jerusalem’s rightful King.
People line the street and children greet Him with palm branches, the symbols of victory, and they cry ‘Hosanna’, meaning ‘Save, we pray’. Their cry and their action are greater than they know, for in their innocence they speak the truth, for Christ alone saves us. The palm branches are indeed tokens of victory, for Victory comes through the Tree of the Cross and the surrendering of our life to the One who gives us life.
This is not just an historic event and a great day in the church, but an event that can be repeated at every communion. For whenever we seek peace and humility as if seated on a colt, and come as innocent children crying ‘Save, we pray’, then Christ enters our souls and makes our souls into Jerusalem’s, ‘Cities of Peace’ within us.
The entry into Jerusalem upon an unbroken colt is also a repetition of Moses’ prophecy that the Gentiles would rejoice in the Lord, but the Jews would be rejected. Here, the unbroken colt, “whereon yet never man sat” (Lk. 19:30), is an image of the Gentiles. The Apostles’ garments that were placed on the colt are Christ’s teachings by which the Apostles would instruct the Gentiles, and the Lord Himself seated spiritually upon the Gentiles loving them and guiding them as His own. He led his people into Jerusalem to the city of salvation and blessedness, a city not made by the hands of men, to the bosom of the Church. The rejected Jews were also present there. With their lips they cried, “The King of Israel”, but in their hearts they had already decided to kill our Savior. Listen to the words written by Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy: ‘They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation. Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? Is not he thy father that hath bought thee? Hath he not made thee, and established thee?’ (Deut. 32:5–6).
Today, as we receive our blessed Palm branches, let us take them to our homes and place them somewhere where we can always see them. Let the Palms remind us that Christ is the King of our families and the King of our hearts, and that Christ is the only True answer to happiness and meaning in our lives. And if we do proclaim Christ as our King, let us try and make time for Him in our daily life, let us be reminded that He is the one with whom we will be spending eternity. Let us be reminded that our careers, our education, our finances, our homes, all of the basic material needs in our lives are only temporary. Let us prioritize and place Christ the King as the primary concern in our lives. It is only when we have done this that we will find True peace and happiness in such a puzzled and complex world. Come, won’t you follow Christ? Be rejoicing in the Lord always; again I will say, be rejoicing. [Phil. 4:4] Glory to Thee, O Lord, Glory to Thee who has shown us the Light!
Fr. Gabriel Weller 4-12-2020-13