Palm Sunday Reflection

Sister Thomasita Homan, OSB | Zachariah 9:9-10 and Matthew 21:1-11 | April 8, 2017

We are going to Jerusalem. All of us. We’ll crowd into the throngs of people stretching and pushing as we try to fix our gaze. Who is this entering our city? We will stand focused on this person, not just today or tomorrow…but for a week…and more. Maybe a lifetime, if our faith is strong. Why? We seem to sense that something very different is happening, and we want to be part of it.

Jerusalem—so much is written of Jerusalem… "always Jerusalem at risk…always Jerusalem on its way rejoicing," writes Walter Brueggeman. He suggests that beloved Jerusalem the holy city could be every city in the world that “replicates its problems and promises”…Jerusalem could be a city in Syria, in Germany, in Pakistan, in Mexico, in the United States. Jerusalem could be Kansas City…or Atchison. All of us now gathered, gazing, wondering. Who is this entering? How are we part of it?

The prophet Zachariah beckons us to: “Rejoice greatly” to “Shout aloud” because our king is coming to bring peace. Vs 9-10 are the heart of Chapter 9, and emphasize that our triumphant and humble king, riding on an ass, is “a just savior” who will do away with weapons of war and bring peace—“from the River to the ends of the earth.” How will we be peace-makers?

In our New Testament reading, Matthew 21, we see it happen: Jesus enters Jerusalem as large crowds before and behind him shout loud Hosannahs (which means Save us! or Save now! (now and now). Many spread their cloaks on the road and wave palm and olive branches. The whole city trembles in turmoil. Like an earthquake. We are a part of it. We hear the crowd asking: “Who is this entering our city?”

Others in the crowd respond : “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Yes, our God is among us. How might we come to a deeper recognition of Jesus, recognition of God’s presence in everyone who enters our country, our city, our monastery?

This week, we wait in our Atchison-Jerusalem, at the intersection of time and eternity, reminded by Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai that, “Jerusalem is a port city on the shore of eternity.”

Finally, Elie Wiesel, writer and Holocaust survivor, reminds us: “One does not go to Jerusalem, one returns to it. That’s one of its mysteries.” With hope and Hosannahs, may we return with full attention to this holy mystery leading us to God’s great sacrifice of LOVE.