THE ENTRY OF JESUS TO JERUSALEM
Gospel of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (Mark 11: 1-10)
The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem was not an “outing” like the outings we have on holidays in Sierra Leone. Yes, there were songs, people moving, waving branches… but Christ was deeply conscious of the sufferings and betrayals he was to meet in within a few days. He wanted to enter the City, purify the temple and enter especially into the hearts of the people, the authorities, and now in our hearts also.
This year during the Mass we read the account of the event from the Gospel of Mark; all 4 evangelists report the fact and this shows us that the message contained there is of great importance.
In the account of Mark there are details that intend to catch our attention: the name of the localities in the outskirts of Jerusalem: Bethphage, Bethany where Jesus was lodging when coming to Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives; the place of Jesus’ agony and betrayal; indicated by the prophets as the place of the final judgement for all peoples (Zac. 14, 1 ss); here Jesus, one of the following days, would be sitting to predict the future destruction of the Temple (see Mark 13, 1- 3).
The pause of Jesus and his followers before entering the city is necessary: at the end of the long walk it is logical to shake off the dust of the sandals, to wash face and hands…. So Jesus has the opportunity to send 2 disciples to hire a small donkey. The owners trust the 2 and the humble animal appears.
Now the procession may start. The shout of the people is “Hosanna”, which means “please save”. Jesus is not happy with this invocation because he knows they intend to be saved from the Romans and this is not his plan; see also the mention of the kingdom of David (verse 10). Instead in this Gospel passage we can consider an effort of Jesus to differentiate from this “kingdom of David”. Jesus wants to say: “no, look the small donkey, today’s means of transport could be a bicycle, if we want to make a comparison: can you imagine a king that goes to conquer his kingdom on a bicycle? But the prophets foretold the meek Jesus coming on a colt of a donkey (Zac. 9, 9).
The disciples try to adjust things as they can: putting their clothes on the poor animal; ready to get rid of necessary clothings and be exposed to the laughing of onlookers.
A good question for us now could be: “For the triumph of Jesus, what are we ready to let go in and around ourselves?”
The scene is joyful; the Hosannas are many; but is Jesus happy, is He consoled by this crowd? No, Jesus looks for other consolations. In this passage the word “Lord” referred to Jesus is repeated twice; and we know that this word is used to indicate Jesus after the resurrection. Yes, Jesus is the Lord revealing himself in unexpected ways. The consolation we can give is our faith in Him, the love for Him that comes from the meditation on the many sufferings He underwent for each of us, on his death and resurrection.