The Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

Matthew 21:1-11, 14-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19

If Only for a Moment

I have heard it said that in heaven our chief occupation shall be praising the Lord.  That makes sense to me; after all, we shall finally be in the presence of our God and of His Christ, the One whom our souls love (Song of Solomon 3:3).  Our time on earth is a temporary preparation for what we shall do there for all eternity.  Here, we are in “school,” so to speak, that we might learn to sing His praises.  It is a difficult education, for we are slow learners, and the curriculum is hard with trials and tribulations abundant.  But if we are good students here, we shall be all the better prepared for our vocation there, a people ready for our life’s purpose: praising and blessing our glorious Lord.

All four gospels record Jesus’ “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem – the beginning of his last week in this world.  Everything in his life, everything he had ever done, converged in this final whirlwind week of activity where he would meet a tragic end, and then rise victorious to a new beginning.  If anything, the passage we read today shows us for the fickle people we are, one moment praising our Lord, proclaiming him “Son of David” (that is, “Messiah”), and hailing him as King.  Just five days later, we read of these same people mocking as others crucified him.  Our love for the Lord is like the morning dew, here for a moment but gone as our minds flitter away while sin enters in.  We are truly a treacherous people.

But if only for a moment, all heaven and earth rejoiced.  Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 that Jerusalem’s king would come in peace, mounted not on a war horse but on the foal of a donkey; that is, humbly and gently.  There is no pretentiousness in Jesus; he doesn’t have to prove himself; he is the King of kings and Lord of lords regardless what he mounts, and a donkey will suit him as well as any other beast.  The people spread their garments and palm branches before him.  The cry of the tumult is such that the Pharisees implore Jesus to rebuke his disciples.  Jesus tells them such would be impossible, for “if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”  And they go away sulking that “the world has gone after him.”

Yes, it was but a temporary scene when all heaven and earth rejoiced over the coming of the King.  It all came crashing down just a few days later.  But, if only for a moment, all was as it ever was supposed to be, what our God tells us we shall one day experience (Revelation 4 & 5).  Let this life prepare you for the next, and therein you shall find your life’s purpose.

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