Palm (Passion) Sunday - Apr 10, 2022
Today the King comes to take possession of his Kingdom. Who is this King? God's only Son, the Anointed One, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. What is his Kingdom? The eternal, everlasting Kingdom where God himself rules every heart. The King's triumphal entry into Jerusalem is the first act of the sacred drama of Christ's greatest work: his passion, death, and resurrection, by which he would redeem the world and establish his everlasting Kingdom.
Today, we celebrate this triumph with the ancient symbol of victory: palm . And it is right that we should. But are we only spectators? No. We are called to be involved in Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The clue to this fact, that we are called to be more than just spectators, is the way Christ entered Jerusalem - on a donkey colt.
That means a bunch of things.
It means that Christ is fulfilling his Father's will, because Zechariah had prophesied that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem on a colt. It means that Christ is the Prince of Peace, because when kings in ancient times came bringing peace, they rode on donkeys, but when they came bringing war, they rode on horses.
But most importantly, it is a parable.
Jerusalem stands for every human heart. And just has Jerusalem was surrounded by huge stone walls, every human heart too is surrounded by walls. And Jesus wants to go through those walls and win over those hearts. And he doesn't want to do it alone. He could have walked into Jerusalem on his own feet, but he didn't. He chose to need the colt. In the same way, in order to bring his Kingdom into people's hearts today, he chooses to need you and me. We are the donkey colts, carrying Christ into every city of the world, into every heart. Jesus wants to conquer the world through us.
This is Jesus' constant strategy. He comes into our lives through ordinary, every day people and events. Ask any priest or religious how they discovered their vocation, and they will tell you a story that illustrates this strategy.
A great example of this is the case of St. John Paul II. When he was a young college student with a brilliant career ahead of him, he met a humble tailor, a layman, named Jan Tiranowski. Jan had organized a prayer group based on the living rosary. Jan was an ordinary man. Nothing set him apart from everyone around him. He looked like everyone else. He lived his daily life like everyone else. He did his job like everyone else. He was like an ordinary donkey colt. He was like the ordinary, plain bread that becomes the Eucharist at Mass.
But it was through his guidance and witness that the young Karol Wojtyla heard his call to the priesthood. That's how Christ has chosen to work in our lives and in the world; he brings in the victory of his grace by riding donkey colts into Jerusalem, through ordinary people and events.
This is the way Jesus has decided to work in the world. And so we should consciously lend him a hand. We should make ourselves into the best donkey colts we can be, carrying Christ wherever he wants to go. The key to being good donkeys is obedience, docility. Our motto in life should be the one he taught us: Thy will be done. If he wants us to turn to the right, we go right; if he wants us to turn to the left, we go left.
This is the lesson the Blessed Virgin Mary learned, and it was the mark of her greatness. Remember her response to the Angel Gabriel? "Let it be done to me according to your word." Christ himself also gives us the example of docility. His whole earthly life was lived in perfect obedience to his Father's will, as the first and second readings [at Mass] today remind us: "I have not rebelled," the prophet Isaiah speaks in the name of the Messiah; "He humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death," St Paul explains.
I am sure that each one of us wants to bring Christ into the lives of those around us. We want to share with others the precious faith we have received. We want him to bring his love, his forgiveness, his wisdom, and his grace into those lives. We want him to ride right through the gates of Jerusalem and into the hearts of everyone we love, everyone we work with, everyone we know, everyone who is in need.
He wants the same thing. All he needs is for us to be good donkeys, and he will take care of the rest. Today, as we celebrate his Triumphal entry and receive him once again in Holy Communion, let's thank him for coming to save us by becoming one of us, and let's renew our commitment to be good, docile, dependable donkeys, so he can conquer more and more Jerusalems.