Sunday 5th April 2020
Matthew 21:1-11, Isaiah 50:4-7, phil 2:6-11, Matthew 26:14-27:66
Today we begin the celebration of the most important event of human salvation. It is the most important season in the Catholic Church as God died so that man will be saved. This week is called holy week because henceforth till the day of Easter, we are going to concentrate more closely on the mystery of the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the event by which he wrought our salvation.
Last Sunday, we saw that as Jesus made up his mind to go to raise Lazarus from the dead, his disciples warned him not to go because the Jews, especially the scribes and pharisees have been looking for him to put him to death. In the gospel readings during the weekdays since last Sunday, we see how they have been looking for various ways to catch him and kill him, but he had kept eluding them. Jesus was therefore warned by his disciples not to go near Jerusalem, except he was ready to die.
In the gospel reading of today, we see that Jesus, willingly entered Jerusalem despite the dangers that awaited him. He did not even sneak into the city, but decided to announce his coming by climbing a donkey as a king. It will not be long that he will enter the country that the news will go round and false accusations will be coming in, just in the quest to get rid of him. When this will happen, all those who are welcoming Jesus as King, will turn and ask that he be crucified.
In the first reading of today, we see how the prophet Isaiah describes the suffering servant who is Jesus. He willingly gave up his life to die, though he did not do anything wrong. All false accusations were brought against him, but he did not say a word, and he did not defend himself. He willingly gave up his life because he knew that it was the only way he could save us from our sins and take us back to our God.
In the second reading, St Paul tells us that Jesus is God, but for our sake, he became man. Instead of claiming equality with God and asserting himself on earth, he emptied himself and looked like a slave, like a common man. Even when Jesus entered Jerusalem as a king today, he identified with the common man by using a donkey which is meant for the poor, instead of the horse which the rich use.
In the long passion narrative, we see just as we will see in the coming days, how Jesus gave up his life so that we will win back our life.
We are therefore called to be more serious with the meaning of our salvation as we approach the Easter season. The week is a holy week and it should be kept holy. Our salvation is closer to us now than before.
May we benefit graciously from the mystery of this season, so that we may experience the joy of Easter. Amen. God help us.
Fr Michael Osatofoh Eninlejie MSP