When Jesus entered Jerusalem,
“the whole city was shaken.”
They saw the sign, and they asked,
“Who is this?”
It helps to know a bit about the scriptures and the culture
so we can understand
that what shook them up
was Jesus heading into Jerusalem like a king.
First, there’s the donkey.
Jesus’ riding in on a the donkey
not only fulfills Zechariah’s prophecy
for the coming of the king,
but it also shows that he had the deep humility
that a true king would have.
Then there’s the people
crying out their hosanna to the Son of David
and “blessed is the one who comes.”
Matthew’s phrasing clearly points to Jesus
as the Messiah who is to deliver Israel.
Who is this?
For our ancestors in faith,
this Jesus from Nazareth
was both king and messiah,
the one who would transform their lives
and set them free.
They saw the signs.
Those who were oppressed believed…
and they followed him.
Those who were oppressors believed…
and they crucified him.
Who is this Jesus for us today, now?
More and more of us,
around the world and even here in the United States,
live under oppression of one sort or another,
and all of us live under threats
from environmental degradation.
Will we choose the path of wealth and power,
serving only ourselves and our own interests,
no matter who we hurt?
Or will we choose the path of Jesus,
serving the common good,
no matter what happens to us?
Today, let’s choose
to follow the Way of Jesus.
Homily for the Mass
Jesus spent his life doing what real leaders do.
He poured his life
into working for the poor and despised and vulnerable.
He spoke truth to power.
He went about doing good.
Because he did not hide
from the consequences of doing good,
he was tortured and killed.
In both life and death, Jesus reflects
what God’s power and God’s love really are:
giving oneself to others.
In today’s reading from the Hebrew scriptures
we heard about Isaiah’s Suffering Servant
and the true leadership that requires
speaking the word that will rouse the weary,
trusting in God,
and going forward regardless of the consequences.
And we heard from Paul
how the divine presence in Jesus
moved him to humility and obedience
throughout life and unto death,
ready and willing to pour himself out for others.
The Gospel accounts of the events
leading up to and including the death of Jesus
are full of references to the Hebrew Scriptures.
Like the infancy narratives,
these passion narratives
either quote directly or echo
the Hebrew Scriptures in almost every verse.
The message is simple,
shared by Christians and Jews and Muslims
and people of good will the world over:
we are one people with one God,
called to love God and love one another,
no matter what happens to us.
But we know that the way of Jesus
has been rejected and condemned throughout history,
even by those who claim to follow him.
Just think of our crusades, our inquisition, our slaves, our wars.
And it still goes on.
All over our country, from Ferguson to Chicago,
from California to North Carolina,
from coal country to central Toledo,
people are afraid that if they really follow Jesus,
they will lose their white privilege
or political power
or tax loopholes.
They would have to share resources
and act out of concern for other people’s rights
to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Holy Week asks us pointed questions:
Do we act with justice?
Love our neighbors?
Go about doing good?
No matter what it costs us?
If we can say yes, we try,
then we’re on the right path.
Thanks be to God!
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Holy Thursday, April 13, 5:30 p.m. Mass of the Lord's Supper
Easter Mass of the Resurrection, Saturday, April 15, 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue
Toledo, OH 43606
Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006