Mark 11:1-11; Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
This gospel reading from Mark is very important. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is significant. Jesus is a rebel and a thorn in the side of the religious authorities. Earlier Peter confessed that Jesus is the Messiah, the long expected one. Mary anoints Jesus’ feet and Jesus appreciates it as his anointing for his death, but kings are also anointed with oil. It was Passover and many visitors would come to Jerusalem and it was probably a tradition to welcome the visitors with palm branches, but people also spread their cloaks on the road before Jesus. It was a tradition to do this when the King visited. Mark does not mention it, but John’s gospel refers to the Old Testament quote from Zechariah 9:9, “Your King will come, riding on a colt of a donkey”. Jesus is entering Jerusalem like a king. This is a treasonous act. The religious leaders and authorities know this because Pilate has his crime, “King of the Jews” posted on his cross at his crucifixion. They get it.
While Jesus’ followers and the crowd shout “Hosanna!” as Jesus enters Jerusalem, I doubt their sincerity because we know by the end of the week his disciples and followers flee and the crowd turns on Jesus at the encouragement of the religious leaders and demand that Jesus be “Crucified!”
Jesus’ actions contradict those expected of the Messiah and a king. Jesus has not come as a powerful warrior king to overthrow the Roman conquerors, but as a humble shepherd who defies the authority of the temple. Today Jesus arrives at the temple and looks around but we know that tomorrow he will come and overturn the moneychangers’ tables and drive the livestock out of the temple. Jesus does not do away with the law, but expects even more.
So remember as you join the procession from our Parish Hall to the Sanctuary that we are counter-cultural rebels fighting against the status quo. We stand up for the poor and the marginalized; we reach out to transgender and the prostitute and welcome them; we heal the sick and feed the hungry; we fight injustice in our society and our community; we follow Jesus Christ the rebel king even to the cross.
Mother Darlene Kuhn
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