Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on April 13, 2014

13a8b5b73a2ba116addfed8280d8c0aa_w600Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 21:1-11

When Jesus and the disciples drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me. And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, ‘The master has need of them.’ Then he will send them at once.” This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: Say to daughter Zion,

“Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is the he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?” And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: With the arrival of Palm Sunday, we enter holy week with an observation about how the world works on the one hand and what Jesus does on the other. In the normal course of the world, a successful leader on election night enjoys the adulation of the crowd and the intoxicating energy of hope and fresh purpose. Compare that image with the tired, prematurely aged, and battered politician who retires from office with but a few remaining shreds of dignity.

Today’s scene in the gospel story echoes this dichotomy, but in reverse. Jesus enters Jerusalem borne on a wave of mass enthusiasm. The crowds throw down palms before him and sing his praises. They expect great things of the latest messianic figure. Perhaps deep down they don’t expect he will be different from previous ones but they need a winner to compensate for their own sense of disappointment as we love the winner of America’s Got Talent.

4805172eeaedb6a0e06dc74d7deb2df0_w600The difference in this version of the story, as in the personal downfall of Jesus in the Passion narrative that ensues on this narrative of the triumphal entry, is that the protagonist does not believe the myth he has been turned into. He understands himself and what is happening. At the center of the tumult around him, Jesus maintains a cool silence and keeps his wits. The events into which we enter is the contrast between what the world thinks greatness is and how Jesus understands the mystery of being alive. To read the story that we embark on today we must allow it to read us. Our own hopes, despairs, mistakes, and successes will guide us into a story whose meaning penetrates all human experience. It then lifts us to a view of reality that transcends and transforms the one who sees it.

Spiritual reading: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you; righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. ~ Zechariah 9:9


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