By: Fr Christopher Maseko
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The Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion marks the start and the holiest time of the liturgical year of the Catholic Church; the Holy Week. Today’s liturgy combines two contrasting moments, one of glory, the other of suffering – the welcome of Jesus and His entry into Jerusalem through the Last Supper to his crucifixion, death, and resurrection.
We are told that Christ came into this world to announce the Good News. What was the good news he came to announce? It was the proclamation of the kingdom. You have often heard the expressions ‘Kingdom of God’ and ‘Kingdom of Heaven.’ The kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven mean one and the same thing. If someone we to ask you as to what it was that you understood by the expression ‘Kingdom of God’ I wonder what you would have to say. The Kingdom of God is not a territory like the kingdom of Eswatini. The Kingdom of God means the reign of God in our lives. It is the central petition of the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ – Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done. In fact, God’s Kingdom comes when His will is done in our lives. To belong to the Kingdom one must make a clear-cut decision. “no one,” said Jesus, “ who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” There must be total commitment.
As the whole world is reeling from coronavirus, from our home altars let us cry to God our Hosanna and ask him to fast track His saving help to restore peace and balance in our environment. Let the Lord enter the needy Jerusalem now, and great who comes with the acclamation of “Hosanna to the Son of David – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.” In fact, the term Hosanna comes from the Hebrew word, “Hoshia’na’ which means, “save us now, we pray.” It is a short acclamation and prayer to God to ask His saving help in difficult times.
It is where the perfection of love and goodness wars against the evil in all men’s hearts due to sin. It’s about those who are faithful to our Lord to the end and about those who play a role in His death. It’s about the triumph of the God of love – victory for both the innocent and the guilty alike. God hears the confident and faith-filled prayers as well as the silent prayer of desperation.
Today, as Jesus enters Jerusalem, there are shouts of welcome of the crows, they can hear the answer who Jesus really is: He who comes in the name of the Lord.” This is truly what is and what He wants to be. It is as such that He wants to be welcomed into your life and mine. Jesus has entered Jerusalem, welcomed by people, only one once in His life. But He wants to be welcomed by you and me every day of our life. And today, it is good that we ask ourselves the question: who is this man? “Who is this man for me?” Perhaps for me He is the Master whom I want to follow as His disciple. For you, He may be the faithful friend you can count on. For another person, Jesus is the console r who comforts us in our pain and suffering. For another still, He is the Saviour who forgives us and helps us in our weakness.
In fact, Jesus wants to be all of this for each and one of us. He is indeed “the one who comes in God’s name.” That means He comes from God, He is sent by God Himself to be God’s presence with us. He brings God’s own message. He is not a king with servants waiting on Him and soldiers marching behind Him. He doesn’t need servants for He Himself has come to serve. He does not want soldiers, because He has come to save, not to destroy. He doesn’t mount a horse, as powerful leaders do. “He rides a donkey. He is humble.” In the meantime, Jesus must experience the full impact of His humanity, as well as experience the questioning that is at the heart of every believer.
Mark presents us with a portrait of Jesus who is faithful to his mission and consistently trusts in God no matter what the cost. So, discipleship demands the same for all who take up the challenge to follow Jesus. We, too, must be willing to take up the cross and walk whatever path is demanded of us, for example, serious illness or the death of a loved one. We, too must be willing to have trust and hope, even when despair seems to overwhelm. We, too, must be willing to believe even when we do not understand why something is happening or what good will ever come out of it.
These days, we are faced with so many struggles and challenges in our life more especially the coronavirus that has forced us to live/adopt a “new normal” much against our will. A lot is expected from each one of us as followers of this humble servant of God. We are confronted with health issues, education, politics of our country where we witness, on a daily basis instability and division. As we celebrated Palm Sunday, may we reflect and be transformed by the lessons learned during these most challenging times. May we reborn into the world with a lot more love and less hatred. More kindness and compassion and less judgment and arrogance. More heroism and less self-interest especially the plight of our school kids who have fallen victim of the status quo. May we exhibit in our daily life more especially in our home and work environment more laughter and less anger. May we be always grateful for the things that matter the most and may we always think and share what we can, however we can. May we love our neigbour as we do our own…may we love and respect all creation, our only planet, our only home.
Finally, let us remember that if we see the kingdom of God and His justice all else will be added unto us. God will meet all our needs if in all things we seek His will and not our own. Let me do so today in a special way. Let me tell Jesus with my whole heart: “Blessings on you, Lord, who comes in the name of the Lord”