Palm Sunday

Scripture       Luke 19:28 -40


As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road.                                        

As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives,

the whole multitude of the disciples

began to praise God joyfully, and with a loud voice,

for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven,

and glory in the highest heaven!

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him,

“Teacher, order your disciples to stop.”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”



It is the time now ‘for the going up to Jerusalem” for the celebration of the Passover. The tension around Jesus and his followers seems to be mounting; it is in the air. There are many gathering in the Holy City who have believed in him and they are ready now to openly declare their readiness to embrace his message of love and mercy. They are awaiting his coming. The Pharisees too are standing by on the sidelines, coyly cautious and on the lookout for any confrontation as the crowds start to grow and converge around the hill of Olivet. Feelings must have been running pretty high when the sight of Jesus was spotted approaching the area.


This is the day Jesus walks into his own City and shows himself Master and King and Lord over all. One cannot help but read this Gospel with a strong feeling that Jesus is taking charge of his own destiny. From this first moment of his arrival, he takes matters into his own hands. He tells two disciples to go ahead into Bethphage and untie a donkey that is hitched there and return with it. If anyone asks you questions about this - simply tell them, “The Master has need of it.” He makes use of all things as if he were in charge of all. He commands and without a word, everyone will obey! He is as sure of that obedience as he is of the word of command that he utters. And when indeed the owner of the donkey does inquire, he is told the explanation and submits making no objection.


Everyone watching was awed by the strength of command that was in his voice. There was certainty in his eyes and the quiet mastery that covered him as a cloak. Those close to him knew that manner of quiet dignity and composure. However, they had never seen it as overpowering as today. Upon their return, he mounts the donkey and rides steadfastly forward into the Holy City. People accompanied him. Yes, they led him, their king, in a jubilant procession of waving palms and shouting Hosanna accolades. Along the route, others caught the excitement and joined in amidst the shouts from the enthusiastic crowds. He goes forth riding on a donkey into the city accompanied by their acclamations:


‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven!”


In the midst of the noise and confusion, these countrymen had found their voices too. They touched into a deeper knowing of the power and glory of this Holy One of God who was in their midst. This was their king and his message had told them what it meant to live in the ‘kingdom of God’. The Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom and they could all be part of it. Their shouts of praise rang out the louder.  And from his donkey Jesus must have looked with deep love into their hearts. I suspect he knew that this journey – this simple royal entry on a lowly donkey – was modeling the way of littleness and gentleness that was characteristic of the new reign of God that he was ushering in as gift for all of humanity.


But, there were others forming in the crowd, on the sidelines, and certainly not admiring this display of the crowds being stirred up even as they neared the Temple. So it was these unnerved Pharisees, in their disapproval, who began to coach him, along the route, to put a stop to this unseemly and unholy din. In bold defiance he replies to these rebukes as one speaking from divine authority:


“I tell you if these were silent, the stones would shout!”


Oh, if you only knew, Jerusalem, you Pharisees and scribes - and all you, who even to this day, try to silence the Good News! Hear ye, hear ye, you will not be able to silence these Hosannas. The kingdom of God will come one day. See, some of the people of God are already finding their way into the New Jerusalem. The whole of creation will recognize the gift of this hour. The reign of God will one day be realized. All of creation will shout and sing their alleluias! Jesus speaks adamantly now. He is confident that no earthly power will ever be able to ultimately destroy the divine plan. In time, the disciples came to recall that this was indeed the day of triumph for the king. It was a day of triumph befitting his birth and life and teaching and the Kingdom itself that he founded.


From the first moment of his entrance into the world, he came riding on a donkey as Mary and Joseph made the journey into Bethlehem and the stable which would be his birthplace. At his birth Jesus was called a king. The astrologers asked: “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” And when Jesus called his first disciples, Nathanael exclaimed: “Rabbi, you are the king of Israel.” The prophets identified Jesus as a king: “Your king approaches you on a donkey’s colt.”  On Palm Sunday, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey towards the end of his life. This time he is acknowledged as ‘blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.”  by the people. The donkey has been seen throughout time as that honoured animal who was called forth to carry the Holy One and perform this service with humility and grace.


We are followers of the Jesus, the king and our hearts are his throne. Today let us raise up in shouts of proclamation our songs of praise and glory to our God. May we not be fickle in our discipleship. Remain steadfast and vigilant. 

Carrying Grace   How can I “shout for Jesus” in my daily walk through the marketplace.



#2 arletteh 2011-04-17 18:39
inevitably.I will pray even more,shout for help,and pray to be triumphant over it as Jesus was.I shout:Jesus you are my Life, my Joy!
#1 arletteh 2011-04-17 18:34
Prepare to “shout” by first praying much. Isaiah(ch.50) in the first reading for Palm Sunday, says that the servant of God is “morning by morning” awakened –to listen. I will listen to the quiet voice that comes in the stillness. I thus learn to speak and act from that quiet place within, where I have learned to trust .I will do my daily duties with love, with a willing , joyful heart, given to the task. I would then appreciate and thank people for what they give daily, so faithfully. I would let new life well up in me ,not obstruct it, not fear it, discerning what may be required. I will smile, sing, dance, have fun! From the quiet place will also come forgiveness. I will forgive from the heart and not let my mind rob my heart from the new ways growing in it. I will have compassion for those who suffer, and, when it can be done with genuine love, help. I will celebrate weekly at my church’s liturgy, and if doing a ministry, do it from the loving depths within. Suffering comes, inevitably. I will pray even more, shout for help, and pray to be triumphant over it as Jesus was.

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