By Father James Swanson,
Mark 11:1 –
When they drew
near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany at the
Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples
and said to them, "Go into the village opposite you,
and immediately on entering it, you will find a
colt tethered on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here. If anyone should say
to you, ´Why are you doing this?´ reply, ´The
Master has need of it and will send it back
here at once.´" So they went off and found
a colt tethered at a gate outside on the
street, and they untied it. Some of the bystanders said
to them, "What are you doing, untying the colt?"
They answered them just as Jesus had told them
to, and they permitted them to do it. So they
brought the colt to Jesus and put their cloaks
over it. And he sat on it. Many people spread
their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy
branches that they had cut from the fields. Those
preceding him as well as those following kept crying out:
Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord!
is the kingdom of our father David that is
Hosanna in the highest!"
Introductory Prayer: Lord
Jesus, I wish to accompany you closely on the road
to Calvary. If I were to contemplate you more
often as you hang scourged and bloody upon the cross,
I’m certain I would be able to rest in
your love and base my actions on that one
truth. I know that you have loved me with an
eternal love: you have proven it there on the
wood of the cross. So I long to respond with
gratitude, peace and the firm determination to spread your
love to everyone.
Petition: Lord, Jesus, grant me the grace to proclaim
you as Messiah and Savior.
1. A Different Kind of Messiah: Up
until now, Jesus has never publicly accepted the title of
Messiah. He had confirmed privately to his apostles that
he is the Messiah, but he had commanded them
to tell no one. When people had called him the
Messiah, he had never accepted the title and most
often tried to get away from them as quickly
as possible. He had reasoned that the Jews don’t understand
what the Messiah is really about. Knowing the Messiah
is to be a great descendent of King David,
they expect the Messiah to appear, raise an army and
lead an uprising against the Romans that will drive
them from the country and re-establish David’s kingdom. Several
times we read of Jesus having to slip away
because the people intend to make him king. He is
not going to be what they expect and he
cannot let their expectations get in the way of his
2. A Suffering,
Not a Political, Messiah: His entry into Jerusalem
is exactly what the prophet predicted for the Messiah. He
enters riding a donkey, for the Hebrews the traditional
mount of royalty. Another thing that was supposed to
happen when the Messiah entered Jerusalem, was that boys
were supposed to be the first to begin to shout,
“Hosanna, son of David.” This is exactly what happens.
People were supposed to throw down branches and cloaks
to pave his way into Jerusalem and this happens too.
The Pharisees see all this and complain to him
because they see that it is a fulfillment of the
prophecy. They want him to tell people he is
not the Messiah. Jesus refuses to do so. He
will be the Messiah that was prophesied – the Suffering
Servant of Yahweh. God can fulfill our deepest desires
and needs in a way we least expect. Can
I read the events in my life as his answer
to my prayers?
The Messiah Rejected by the Experts: The chief priests,
scribes and Pharisees are angry. They have already decided
they don’t want to accept Jesus as the Messiah.
Why do they wish to reject him? Is it because
he doesn’t show the signs that the Messiah should
show? No, he has fulfilled all the prophecies. Instead,
they see that Jesus as Messiah will threaten their
social and political positions. Jesus will be more important than
they. They don’t want that to happen. They don’t
want to lose power. In the end they allow
themselves to be convinced that he cannot be the Messiah.
Rather than consider all the evidence in his favor,
they reject him because they don’t want a Messiah
like that. Is there any way in which I, in
my own life, reject something that God wishes of
me or permits me to suffer because I don’t want
God acting in that way in my life?
Conversation with Christ: Jesus,
fill my heart with a love that knows no limits,
the love that drew you from heaven to die
on the cross for me. Fill also the hearts of
all those who feel threatened by the modern Pharisees
who reject you and want to erase your name
from the world, so that they will witness bravely to
you and to your sacrifice for us.
Resolution: Today, with the
courage of my conviction that Jesus is the savior of
the world, I will proclaim in some way that
he is my Lord and God, especially through charity
towards everyone I meet.