Church of St. Peter

Springerville, Az. 85938

 

 

PALM SUNDAY OF THE LORD’S PASSION: YEAR A

THEME: THE COMING OF MESSIANIC KING

BY REV. FR. ANSELM CHIGOZIE AMADI

INTRODUCTION: The triumphal entry to Jerusalem and the joyful acclamation of the crowd shows Jesus as Messiah and King. When the crowd acclaimed Jesus as the Son of David (Hosannah to the son of David), they allude to his royal credentials, and when they acknowledged him as “He who comes in the name of the Lord”, the Messiah is understood, that is, the one who is promised to Israel. The scenario fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah “Exult O daughter of Zion! Shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! Behold your king is coming to you, a just savior is he, Humble, and riding on a donkey” (Zech. 9:9).

A RIDE ON A COLT: The Messiah was coming to liberate his people from the shackles of the enemy as was promised: “He shall banish chariots from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem: the warrior’s bow will be banished and he will proclaim peace to the nations. His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth” (Zech. 9:10). On this triumphal procession, Jesus chose to ride on a colt, not on horseback as would kings and earthly war lords. His choice of the poor humble animal highlights his humility and justifies his identity as the prince of peace. His humble procession shows the nature of his victory. He is humble yet victorious, gentle and triumphant; teaching us the gallantry of meekness. In him, we see the power of humility: “He humbled himself becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him…. at the name of Jesus every knee should bend and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Lord” (Phil. 2:8-10).

The triumphal entry announces Jesus as the promised son of David (2Sam. 7:5ff, 1kgs 8:19ff). When God disapproved David’s proposal to build a temple, he promised to raise David’s son who would accomplish this task. Actually, Solomon fulfilled this plan but not completely. Solomon was simply a type of Jesus and a forerunner of the true son of David. The name Solomon is derived from the Hebrew word ‘Shalom’, which means peace As his name suggests, Solomon is a pointer to the one who is rightly called the prince of peace (Is 9:5); who would be upon David’s throne (IS. 9:6). As Solomon sat on the throne after David, he appears as a shadow of one who was to come; of whom the Angel says, “The Lord will give him the throne of his father, David (Luke 1:32). Again, as Solomon rode on David’s mule amidst rejoicing crowd of people (1kgs 1:32, 40); Jesus’ triumphal entry is foreseen.

Jesus fulfills the role of the son of David when he arrived at the temple and saw people buying and selling, he challenged them in the manner of the prophet Jeremiah, prior to the destruction of the temple of Solomon: “Has this house which bears my name become in your eyes a den of thieves?” (Jr. 7:11). At this, he sets to build the eternal temple for God, as was spoken through Nathan to David. When Jesus says, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn. 2:19), he fulfills the prophecy, “Your son will build me a house”. He is the Messiah and King, the Son of David who was to come.

As king, his kingdom is not of this world. He reigns in the spiritual kingdom that knows no geographical boundaries. Enthroned on the hearts of his faithful, he reigns therein. The children of the kingdom are those who welcome and praise him. Like the crowd that threw their cloaks on the road, true believers express their homage to Christ our king. Our cloak is our pride and material object of glory; these we are to throw at his feet, acknowledging our nothingness and acclaiming his Majesty.

In conclusion, as Jesus rode to the temple of Jerusalem which was made of stones, he met people trading in the house of prayer. Today, we are not merely remembering a past event. Instead, we are reliving the event of his triumphal entry into the temple of God in the spirit, which we are: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you” (1Cor. 3:16). This temple is a house of prayer. Whenever we admit alien affairs into it and welcome unholy transactions, it becomes a den of thieves. Thus, we are called to welcome and glorify him alone in our lives