From the Pastor’s desk— April 2, 2023

As Jesus makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem today, we enter our holiest week of the year.  What is most unique is that the grandest day of Jesus’ life begins in the simplest of ways.  Jesus does not have His triumphal entry with a captivating stallion or another such animal that demands respect, He enters on one of the humblest of animals, a donkey and her foal that no one has ever ridden. Imagine if the coronation of Queen Elizabeth had done the same?  It’s not hard to understand why so many in Israel did not understand who He really was.

Why would He do such a thing?  At the moment Israel is finally beginning to recognize Him as the true Messiah and King that they have waited for, for centuries, why would He have not also come in a regal way? The way most Israelites were expecting. Ever since His birth, Jesus showed us He came in an unexpected way, in the humblest of ways.  In doing so, He has shown us the divine plan and the divine path.  So often the Bible reminds us that we think as the world thinks, not as God thinks.

One mistake we often make as Christians is that we think Israel only had one set of expectations about how the Messiah would come when in fact there was a variety of understandings of what the Messiah would be.  Some understood the Messiah as a warrior, coming triumphantly in power, while others saw him as a man of peace.  In Daniel 7, He comes on a cloud to show his power, but in Zephaniah he comes riding a donkey. 

There is one characteristic of the Messiah that everyone agreed about and that is the Messiah would restore Israel. Of course, “how” He would do that was not unanimous, but “that” he would do that was clear.  Today we hear how He did it in a way that fulfilled all their expectations. He fulfilled the kingly Davidic expectations, arriving a triumphal procession (albeit on a humble animal) and He was crowned a king (although with thorns.)  Such actions and others spoke to the prophetic nature of the Messiah. Jesus also made present the transcendent messiah whenever He asserted Himself as the Son of Man. As messiah, He made the perfect priestly sacrifice, although it was His very self. In addition, He restored the Temple, although it was the Temple of His body. 

Finally, and most convincingly He made present the messiah as a suffering servant, dying on a cross unjustly. In this week, Jesus fulfills all that was expected of the Messiah.  We have the chance not to repeat the mistakes of our ancestors, who saw from their limited perspectives.  To see Jesus in the fulness of His Messiahship, we cannot simply watch what happens, we must participate in all these events.  He will be the fulfillment of all we seek if we don’t act as a spectator and we are willing to walk with Him all week long.



Fr. Ray Smith, CMF
Parochial administrator

With a heart for Mission,
Fr. Ray