Hosanna To Our King Who Comes In Glory
Readings: (Mt 21:1-11); 1st: 50: 4-7; Ps 21: 8-24; 2nd: Phil 2:6-8; Gos: Mt 26:14-26:66)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today is Palm Sunday. On this Sunday, the Church celebrates the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem in order to accomplish his Paschal Mystery. Today, all the readings highlight the ordeal and humility of Christ.
Today’s celebration is full of symbols. The green palm is a symbol of peace: “He shall be the prince, and king of peace” (Is 11: 1-9; 9:6). It also represents royalty and restoration. The crowd symbolizes both praise and denial. This is because, the same crowd singing “hosanna” today, soon will shout, “crucify him!” Finally, the donkey is symbolic of Christ’s humility: “…He is humble. He rides on a donkey, the foal of a beast of burden” (Zac 9: 9).
The first reading is one of the “ebed Yahweh” (Servant of God) songs. The core message of this song is, the humility of Christ. In spite of his sufferings, He did not avoid his ordeal: “For my part I made no resistance, neither did I cover my face against insults and spittle.” Indeed, he faced it bravely, while looking forward to his justification by his Father.
In the second reading, Paul also highlighted the greatness and depth of Jesus’ humility. He recalled the kenosis (self-emptying) of Jesus: “though he was in the form of God he did not count equality with God…He humbled himself till death.” Hence, Paul admonishes us to be like Jesus, by living a simple, humble and gentle life. Unfortunately, we live in a world of pride and vainglory. Humility and simplicity attract both God and humans. On the contrary, pride make one repulsive. Pride simply leads to humiliation and shame.
Today’s gospel is from the passion narrative of Christ. It could be divided into three scenes: the arrest of Christ, his arraignment before Roman authorities, and his suffering and death. It is a drama of both praise and betrayal. It started like a comedy, but seems to end like a tragedy.
Hence, the journey that started with praises (Hosanna, Hosanna), eventually ended with castigation (crucify Him, crucify him). However, at both ends, God is still at work and in control because: “We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom 8, 28).
The humility that Christ demonstrated today is contrary to the arrogant display of wealth and firm by today’s rulers and leaders. In spite of being God, Christ humbly rode on the lowliest of beasts. He did not violate traffic rules because he is the Lord. He needed no armed and paid security officers. Instead, he simply mounted a colt and made his way into Jerusalem. As a humble and brave leader, he was not afraid of his mission.
The passion narrative of Jesus Christ is very crucial to our understanding of the true nature of Christ. Christologically speaking, it presents us with the nature of Christ as a true man. He suffered, and died like every other human being. Yet, this did not diminish the fact that he is Lord and God.
Through his passion, He has become our role model, while his cross has become our symbol of hope and salvation. So, before seeing Christ as the glorious Lord of Easter, first, we must think of him as the wounded, and crucified Christ.
Finally, as we sing hosanna, hosanna today, let us ask God to keep us faithful till we sing the great alleluia to the glory of the risen Christ at Easter.
Peace be with you all