Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11)
“‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me.’” (Matthew 21:2)
Our Lenten journey brings us to the start of Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, Jesus is welcomed to Jerusalem by a cheering crowd. Several days later, the crowd that welcomed him crying “Hosanna, Son of David” was shouting “Crucify him.” The fleeting moments of triumph and celebration quickly turn into agonizing torture and crucifixion.
Abraham Lincoln’s greatness at Gettysburg was realizing that his words didn’t have to be eternal in order to be immortal. The previous speaker droned on and on in the heat of the afternoon, but there’s little record of what he said. Yet Lincoln’s few bare lines have been long remembered and often quoted.
In the spirit of Lincoln’s brevity, let me share with you a homily that my priest friend John Young preached on Palm Sunday more than 40 years ago. Even after four decades, I still remember it word for word . . . and I’m still reflecting on its implications for my life and calling.
Here are Father John’s words that still resonate years later:
“On this Palm Sunday, my prayer is that you learn to identify with the beast of burden in today’s Gospel. It needed to be untied . . . because the Master had need of it . . .”
Questions to Ponder
- In what ways do you need to be untied?
- How is the Master calling you to bring your gifts to bear on the needs of his people?
- As you listen in prayer, what urge to be of service emerges from your heart of hearts?
Invitation to Prayer
Jesus, you know all the ways in which I am imprisoned by inner barriers such as fear, indecision and lack of confidence. I long to be more generous in serving others, but these barriers hold me back. You know all of the ways I need to be untied . . .
Free me so that I may more faithfully serve you and more generously help others. Untie me and guide me in the ways both big and small that I may give my life in service of others.