We have entered into the Holy week by remembering Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem. In the synoptic gospels, Jesus’ life and ministry is presented as a journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. On his way to Jerusalem he calls some to leave everything and follow him, some others seeing his life, join him on his journey. On the way, he taught them many things about Himself about God’s Love. Many believed Him as Messiah, as Son of God. But for many others, like the Pharisees, Chief priests and scribes, found Him unacceptable.
Apparently the goal of his journey was the Jerusalem temple, but the events which followed in Jerusalem, i.e. His death and Resurrection which we remember in this Holy Week, tells us, the purpose of the Journey was not to enter the temple which was built by human hands. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf (Heb9:24).
Pope Benedict XVI, in his book Jesus of Nazareth, after giving the biblical and theological interpretation of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem tells us that Jesus’s entrance to Jerusalem and the reception which people gave to him was fitting for the Messiah. Jesus’ decision to enter the city sitting on a donkey, the people’s action of spreading their cloaks and leafy branches etc., have its symbolical meaning in the context their messianic expectation. They received Jesus by singing, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord- the King of Israel!”
The people who received him with joy were people like blind Bartimaeus, who was healed by Jesus when he prayed saying; “Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me!” The evangelist tells us that when he regained his sight, he followed him on the way (Mk10:46-52). In other words, the people who shouted to “crucify him” on Good Friday are not the same people who welcomed Jesus with “Hosanna.”
Jesus’ triumphal procession continues in the history. In each generation thousands join with him on “His way.” Let us remember that “palm Sunday” celebration is not just remembering a past event. But rather we are invited to welcome Christ with joy who continues to be with us as our king and messiah and to join in His triumphal journey to the Heavenly Jerusalem.
About the Author:
Fr. Binoy Puthusery, C.M. is a Vincentian priest belonging to the Southern Indian Province. He was ordained as priest on December 27, 2008 and soon after served as an assistant parish priest in Tanzania. In 2011, after two years of ministry, he was appointed as Spiritual Director to the Vincentian Sisters of Mercy, Mbinga Tanzania, where he still is today.