The National Catholic Review

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!" When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, "Who is this?" The crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:6-11)

The Day After Palm Sunday:

I have spoken to the disciples of Jesus. The disciples of Jesus knew by the time he came close to Jerusalem that his mission was coming, is coming to a climax. Whether they understand perfectly what Jesus had told them about himself and what is to take place, they know now is the time. Once not long ago they said they had correctly identified who Jesus was, though they were clouded by their own perceptions of who they thought he ought to be; they will tell me nothing directly yet, but still they know from what he said and what he had done, that now is the time of fulfilment. But it had not only been apostles and other disciples, even women, who have followed Jesus. Along the way and throughout his whole ministry there have been others who have followed for a few miles, or for a talk, or for a meal, or out of curiosity hung at the fringes of his entourage. Jesus has talked everywhere and has drawn out people from every corner of Israel, no matter their place or station, even children, even a Gentile here and there. There is something special about him, everyone says it, though some are frightened by whatever this “something” is. I have seen powerful people rise in anger when they hear about him, or when they confront him. They want to stop him and once some people accused him of having the devil in him, in front of his own people and family. Most people knew it was not true, could not be true, when they considered the man and his words, how he treated everyone, even sinners. Still, people talk. When Jesus entered Jerusalem yesterday, many people said he was the Messiah! People were talking about it, debating it. "At the most he is a prophet," one person said, but a cry of voices said "no, no, just wait. He is the Messiah."

There was such anticipation when he rode into Jerusalem. It was foolish, crazy even, the way people treated him yesterday. Thousands and thousands pour into Jerusalem to prepare for the Passover and Jesus draws crowds of people shouting at him! Some people knew who he was, but others were just drawn into the tumult, asking, “who is this?” I said to some people from Jerusalem, “Jesus, Jesus, he’s a prophet, from Galilee.” Some men laughed, “a prophet from Galilee? Are you sure he’s not from Tyre or Sidon? They have prophets, too, right?” Just a joke to these men, I guess, but to them everyone from Galilee is a joke. So be it. I came from Galilee for the Passover too, to celebrate with my village and people. I am not a disciple of Jesus, but I know him and when these men asked me who he was I said “prophet” without thinking. But now that I think about this the next day, I wonder. I do not wonder if he is a prophet, I wonder if he is more than a prophet. Why?

The people shouted and greeted him with palm branches waving, jumping, singing. The noise was incredible, the palm branches when they shake sound like the heavens coming alive, and people were behind him and in front of him, jostling and shouting and jumping and saying “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” They thought he was the Messiah yesterday! Jesus! Do they still think it today? I do not know, but there was excitement yesterday and there is for me excitement today. I have been talking to the disciples, but they will not say he is the Messiah. Do they not know? Or should they not say? I know some people from my village who have relatives that are disciples of Jesus. In fact, truth be told, I have a relative who is a disciple, but I am always scared to follow, to become a disciple and give everything up. I have been waiting, but is this the time? Jerusalem is alive like I have never seen it alive before. What if Jesus is the Messiah?

If he is, what happens next? This is what is so exciting. Friends and family of mine, we have been talking and even preparing. If this is the time for God to act, will we soon see the Romans running home? Or can they even make it that far before the Messiah cuts them down and sends them to the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth - I heard Jesus say that once when he was telling parables, that there is a place for evildoers where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Send the Romans to that place please! And fill us with good things. I know too many people who are hungry or their children are hungry. Now Messiah, make it run with milk and honey, rich wine strained clear and meat and marrow, a feast for the ages.

What did I see yesterday? Is it the Messiah? If it is, what is next? What should I expect? How will he conquer, how will he gain the victory? I do not know if I should believe, but if God’s kingdom is soon to be established, how will it take place? How do I prepare? All I have are questions, one question after another. I think I am ready for the Messiah to come, but for what should I prepare? Jesus, if you are the one, will it be revealed soon? And how will I know? The city is ready for the Messiah, the city is still full of excitement. Surely, your time is coming soon, if you are the one who is to come. Jerusalem is ready!

John W. Martens

Follow me on Twitter @johnwmartens

Comments

Susan Mulheron | 4/18/2011 - 7:15pm
I love Palm Sunday. It's one of the best liturgies of the year, if not, dare I say it, the best. I do have mixed feelings about reading the Passion narrative since it ends up in Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem getting a bit glossed over in many cases, although at the same time it offers the ever-important juxtaposition of the people shouting Hosannah and then so quickly afterwards shouting Crucify him.

Experiencing Holy Week as a Protestant turned me into a Catholic. And it all begins with Palm Sunday! :-D