“When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen.”
Two thousand years ago, the people following Jesus were excited. They thought they were escorting their newly anointed King into Jerusalem; a King who would fight for their freedom against the Roman occupiers. Moments after this happy scene, in which people were shouting, “Hosanna!” and throwing palm fronds and their cloaks on the ground to pave the way, we are told that Jesus wept for Jerusalem and foretold its coming destruction. “They will dash you to the ground, you and your children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you.” (Luke 19:44) Thus began what we now call Holy Week—holy, but not happy. When I see footage of Syria today, especially Palmyra and Rocca, I think of Jesus' prediction. Not one stone is upon another. I, too, weep. In two thousand years, humanity should have progressed far enough to not be killing one another, bombing cities, gassing children. Going into Holy Week, we must face the fact of our lack of progress when it comes to matters of the soul.
Spiritually, humanity is bankrupt. It has nothing to do with which religion you subscribe to, or whether you subscribe to any religion at all. It has to do with power, and the obsession we have with power. It has to do with greed, and the desire for more and more wealth. It has to do with egos, and winning, and being “super powers.”
Let us remember today, that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, not a war horse. In the words of the prophet Zechariah (9:9) “See your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” As we enter into Holy Week, let us too be gentle, and humble, and seeking peace.
In the Spirit,