On the Sunday of the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. 25 April 2021 – Byzantine Rite

Where do we see ourselves in the arrival of Our Lord Jesus to Jerusalem where He was received as king?

Are we among His Twelve? That has more to do with His choice than ours, I think. Have we joined his disciples early, or were we only convinced when He raised Lazarus? Did certain family or friends convince us to believe in Him, as they did?

Are we only just now, as a crowd shouts “Hosanna!”, joining the chorus, caught up in a moment, with our hopes for what fulfilled prophecies could mean for our future?

Are we Zacheeus, a despised tax collector watching Him from a tree-top? Are we plotting against Him with the Sanhedrin?

Are we quietly too busy mocking His followers in our homes and neighborhood taverns, or perhaps hard at work swindling in the temple?

I mean, if we’re of Gentile birth, the plainest answer is we’re nowhere in the vicinity of Jerusalem and oblivious to any of the pertinent goings-on. But that, like the question itself, is pretty much besides the point.

Jesus taught in parables, and we tend to listen to those the same way, and I imagine His contemporaries usually did, too. We’re either the lord, or the servant, or the merchant or the client, or the soldier or the fugitive, et cetera and et cetera.

I think a richer truth is that in these parables are useful lessons to both interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts. We play any number of the roles, sometimes more than one at a time, in different situations.

And reading the Gospel narrative some twenty centuries after the fact, in all countries around the world, whether Jew or Gentile, can offer us a clearer perspective on ourselves than we might otherwise allow ourselves, by relating both protagonist and antagonist behavior to our own often-conflicting tendencies. As far as I need be concerned, I am Caiaphas and Pilate, and also Judas and Peter, and Mary of Bethany and Simon of Cyrene, and everyone Our Lord blessed and reproached.

The important thing is that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am The First (That’s right, Adam, too!). Though there be corruption in us yet, let us name ourselves the Lord’s holy city. We are Jerusalem. And it is precisely because there is evil still in us that it is so important for us to come out with our palms, throw down our cloaks in our streets, and cry “Hosanna! Blessed is the king that comes in the Name of the Lord!”


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