How do we respond to such an exquisite display of love?
Jesus, seated on a donkey, resolutely rides into Jerusalem knowing he will die there. Both he and the saint who is showing him the way are holding a scroll. The word written by the prophet is coming to pass as the Word-Become-Flesh writes history.
Behind Jesus, the disciples follow in a huddle, solemn determination on their faces except for the one in front–John perhaps–whose face is filled with compassion.
The curious religious leaders and people of Jerusalem crowd the gate. One with a closed fist looks away, another open-handed welcomes, a third protectively clutches her robe. And the ancient looking children in the foreground! Three are spreading their outer garments on the path or waving palms and the fourth pulls his robe over his head. He will lay down the only piece of clothing he has on. His hosanna costs him everything, including his dignity. But no one seems to notice.
The donkey plods on.
Like everyone here, I am convinced, determined, broken-hearted, sceptical, intrigued, guarded, caught up in hope, laid bare in shame, humbly trudging forward and standing in the way.
Jesus, I’m not ready, but you comes into my Jerusalem anyway. There’s not one person in this scene that you love less than another, no one you dismiss. No part of me is too aloof, too embarrassing, too tight-fisted to be loved.
My heart swells. Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!
How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart. . .
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.
— “Living Flame of Love” by St. John of the Cross
Questions for your journey into Holy Week:
- How does it feel to know that Jesus understands and welcomes every part of you?
- How do you respond when you behold such an exquisite display of love for you?