Posted by: fvbcdm | April 11, 2014

Feast of Saint Stanislaus (11 April 2014)

We come this weekend to Palm Sunday, and in our spiritual life, we remember the things that happened in that last weekend of the life of Jesus before his sufferings and death.

On that Saturday night, he was invited to dinner with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. To show her deep gratitude for restoring her brother to life, Mary poured a whole jar of expensive perfume over his feet and wiped them with her hair.  Judas, who was about to betray Jesus, protested, calling it a waste of money. Our Lord told Judas to leave Mary alone; what she had done was done in preparation for his burial. He knew that exactly one week from that night, he would be lying dead in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.

The next morning, Our Lord and the apostles were making their way over the Mount of Olives toward the city of Jerusalem, just two miles from where the dinner had been given. The rising sun was to their backs; the clear, beautiful April morning caused the holy city to gleam in the sunrise and the temple stand out in all its magnificence. The slow process of rebuilding it had been going on for about 50 years, and the glorious limestone complex of buildings crowned the hill called Moriah. It was the pride and joy of every devout Jew who saw it in the house of God upon earth. The apostles marveled at its beauty, but Our Lord began to weep, knowing that the people of Jerusalem—and indeed most of Israel—would refuse to accept him as their savior, and would thus bring destruction upon themselves. In fact, this splendid group of buildings called the temple would, in just about 40 years, be totally destroyed by the Roman armies so that there would not be left a stone upon a stone.

Jesus instructed them to procure a donkey—a rather odd request, since nowhere else in the gospel does Jesus ride a donkey. But there was a reason for this. The prophet Zechariah had foretold: Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion (that is, Jerusalem). See, your king is coming mounted on the colt of a donkey. The donkey was the animal of peace as contrasted with the horse, used in battle. It is a peaceful king, not a warlike one, who enters the holy city on a donkey. Probably because of the excitement of his having raised Lazarus from the dead, the people treat him like a celebrity. They greet him with “Hosannas”, a Jewish cheer meaning something like “Praise God!” and strew the branches of trees and their own clothing on the roadway to form a kind of “red carpet reception.” However, Jesus knows very well that this excitement and greeting will turn in just five days to rejection because of the rabble-rousing of his enemies and these same people will be yelling for his death by crucifixion. So much for human fame, notoriety, and popularity.

As we use the blessed palms this weekend, let’s be sure to recognize in Our Divine Lord the eternal Messiah, Redeemer, Savior, and not just a Hollywood-type hero for the moment. He is our king on the donkey and amid the palms; he is our king at the last supper, instituting the Holy Eucharist. He is our king in agony on the cross. And he is our king, springing out of the tomb to new life which he wants to share with us. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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