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The Coming of the Lord (Reflection on Palm Sunday)

by David Gray, April 17, 2011

palm sunday

“Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” All of the Gospel accounts are in harmony with each other in saying that Jesus was met by a sizeable crowd who had given Him a king’s greeting and blessing. Luke is the only one that departs from recording that this crowd said Hosanna (which means Help or Save/Give Salvation I Pray) as He entered Jerusalem. The message being conveyed here with this greeting is that as they pay homage to the Messiah King, they are also simultaneously crying out to Him for help. Psalm 188:25-26 is the source of this high greeting and it is actually still used today in the liturgy of Jewish Seder (Passover) ritual. “In the highest,” refers to the Most High – Help, I pray in the name of YHWH. Mark’s “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the Kingdom of our Father David that is to come!” is simliar to a passage found in the Didache (10:6).

The Synoptic Gospels insist that the crowd participated in welcoming the Messiah King into Jeruslam by spreading their cloaks on the ground before Him. It is worthy to note here that an Israelite’s cloak was probably their most valuable possession on his/her body. Therefore, this great sacrifice of their most valuable possession is immediately woven into their cry for help!

The great irony is that with all of this fanfare and external demonstration of sacrifice, in just a few days from now, many of these same people who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem as a king will be calling for his head, or won’t be anywhere to be found as he dies on the Cross alone. And perhaps many of us who sacrificed just a few small things for Lent, and were more devout in our faith during these last 40 days will return to our places of comfort after Easter.

Yet, the great hope of God stepping out of eternity and into our space, starting a Church, giving Himself as the Eucharist, and sacrificing Himself on the Cross for our salvation, is that our lives will be completely different and better for Him having come into it. The coming of Christ insures that the old things have passed; that at the moment of our Baptism we have been born again anew In Him.

And the fact of the matter is that God has never and will never stop coming to His people. There is not a moment during the day when we are not encountering God in some perceivable or imperceptible way, because He is always coming. He comes to us everyday through an unlimited resource of things in His creation, and most uniquely through sacred Scripture and the Holy Eucharist. Moreover, because God is always coming and is always drawing nearer to us, we know that a deeper relationship with Him is always at our disposal.

During this Holy Week Jesus is going to continue to show us the path to new life and a deeper relationship with God. He is going to show us that prayer is what binds us to Him; prayer is that one thing we have that opens up a door from our time and space to eternal life with Him; prayer is the unbreakable chain that ties us to God. Jesus is also going to show us through His own suffering what we must do to Cooperate with Him in this life. As Christ, carrying His heavy cross, took step after step after step to get to Mt. Calvary, so must we, if Heaven is our goal, everyday take up our cross and repeatedly take radical steps to our our own Calvary.

PRAYER FOR PALM SUNDAY
Lord Jesus, as you rode into the city of Jerusalem as king, ride into my life,
Teach me to cry out to you, Hosanna.
Teach to lay my most treasured possessions at your feet.
Jesus be my King, my Savior, my sure Help.
Never leave me, my God. Amen.


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Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

1 Comment


  • honestly beautiful! Jesus, our God and King is so good to us. Thank you for this post. I hope to be able to chew on it in my heart for a while.

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