Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Palm Sunday - Hosanna
Volume 6 No. 338 March 19, 2016
II. This Week's Featured Articles

Introduction: Palm Sunday
All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass (Matt. 21:4-5).

Jesus was on His way into Jerusalem on Sunday morning (Palm Sunday), to present Himself as King of the Kingdom of Heaven. He began on foot from Bethany, which is only about two miles from Jerusalem.

Near Bethphage, located between Bethany and Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives, He sent His disciples to bring Him an ass and its colt. More than 500 years before this, the prophet Zechariah foretold that the King of kings would one day appear, riding upon an ass (Zech. 9:9).

Undoubtedly, a large crowd had followed Him. Also additional crowds of pilgrims had joined them who were on their way to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. They hailed the Lord as King, spreading their garments in the way as men had done formerly for kings (II Kings 9:13). They strewed His path with branches from the trees and cried: Hosanna to the son of David. They hailed the Lord as the Messiah, crying out the Messianic greeting: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (Matt. 21:9).

When the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the Temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto Him, Hearest thou what these say? (21:15-16).

To these learned men of the Scriptures, Jesus responded: Yea; have you never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? (21:16). The Pharisees had agreed that if any man did confess that He (Jesus) was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue (John 9:22). But they were powerless that day, because of the overwhelming acclaim Jesus was receiving from the people.

In the Temple, He assumed supreme authority as the King of Peace. And soon He will return to gather his own to ever be with the Lord (I Thes. 4:17). And the hostile powers of the world will be just as powerless to withstand Him when He returns with His mighty angels . . . taking vengeance on them that know not God (II Thes.1:7-10).

Thought for Today:

Unless humility is shown before God and man, it is of little value.

Further Reading

Read Matthew 21

Cross References:

For Matt. 21:5: See Is. 62:11; Zech. 9:9.
Matt. 21:9: See Ps. 118:26.
Matt. 21:13: See Is. 56:7; Jer. 7:11.
Matt. 21:16: See Ps. 8:2.
Matt. 21:33: See Ps. 80:8-9; Is. 5:1-2.
Matt. 21:42: See Ps. 118:22-23.
Matt. 22:24: See Deut. 25:5.
Matt. 22:32: See Ex. 3:6.
Matt. 22:37: See Deut. 6:5.
Matt. 22:39: See Lev. 19:18.
Matt. 22:44: See Ps. 110:1.

Source: Bible Pathways

Palm Sunday: The Victory of Humility

by: Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

When a conquering hero of the ancient world rode into town in triumph, it was in a regal chariot or on the back of a stately stallion. Legions of soldiers accompanied him in the victory procession.

Triumphal arches, festooned with relief sculptures, were often erected to immortalize his valiant victory.

After driving out demons, healing the sick, and raising the dead, it was time for the King of Kings to enter the Holy City. But to do so, he rode not on the back of a warhorse, but a donkey. His companions accompanied him brandishing not swords, but palm branches. The monument to his victory, erected a week later, was not an arch, but a crucifix.

His earthly beginning was frightfully humble. And his earthly end would be no different. The wood of the manger prefigured the wood of the cross.

From beginning to end, the details are humiliating. No room in the inn. Born amidst the stench of a stable. Hunted by Herod's henchmen. Growing up in a far-flung province of the Roman Empire--Galilee, the land where the country accent is so thick, you can cut it with a knife. How it that the high priest's servant-girl knew Peter was a disciple of Jesus? His hillbilly accent gave him away (Mat 26:73). Jesus disciples were not cultured, learned men of ability.

They were drawn from the low-life of a backwater region…

When one of his closest companions offered to betray him, he did not require millions. Jesus' worth was reckoned to be no more than the Old Testament "book value" for a slave-thirty pieces of silver. When he was finally handed over to the Romans, he was not given the punishment meted out to Roman citizens. Beheading was the quick, dignified way to execute someone of any standing.

Instead Jesus was given punishments reserved only for slaves and rebellious members of subjugated peoples – flagellation and crucifixion. These two penalties were not just about the pain, but about the humiliation. In first century Palestine, men and women typically covered themselves from head to toe, even in the scorching heat. A crucified man was stripped naked and put on display for all to see. But this is not primary a story of violence and humiliation. The events of Holy Week are much more about love and humility.

That's why on Passion Sunday we read the powerful words of Paul's letter from the Philippians (2:6-11).

Though the Divine Word was God, dwelling in the serene heights of heavenly glory, he freely plunged to the depths of human misery, joining himself to our frail nature, entering into our turbulent world. As if this act of humility were not enough, he further humbled himself, accepting the status of a slave. His act of stooping down to wash the feet of his disciples (Jn 13) was a parable of his whole human existence, for this act was regarded as so undignified that not even Israelite slaves could be compelled to do it.

But that's just it. Jesus was not compelled to do it. He willingly lowered himself in his birth, in his ministry, in his death. No one took his life from him. He freely laid down his own life. Others did not have the chance to humble him; he humbled himself.

It had to be so. The Second Adam had to undo the damage caused by the first. What was the sin our first parents? They disobeyed because they wanted to know what God knew, to be like God, to exalt themselves over God (Gen 3). They were bitten by the Serpent, and injected with the deadly venom of Pride. The antidote, the anti-venom could only be humility. The foot-washing, donkey-riding New Adam would crush the head of the deadly serpent by means of loving, humble obedience.

The first-born of many brothers lowered himself to the dust from which the First Adam has been made-indeed humility comes from the word "humus." But God responded to his humility by exalting him far above Caesars, kings, and even Hollywood stars. And he invites us to share his glory with him. But first we must walk on his road to glory, the royal road of the cross.

Source: From the March 20, 2005 issue of Our Sunday Visitor and is reproduced here by permission of the author.

The Word of the Day: 'Hosanna!'

by The Rev. Charles Henrickson

Scripture: John 12:11-19; Psalm 118:19-29

Today is Palm Sunday, and if there is a "word of the day" for this day, I think it's the word, "Hosanna!" How often do we see that word show up in our service today! We started the service by saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David." Then we heard the Gospel reading where the crowd cries out, "Hosanna!" As we processed in, we sang about how "the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring." And we concluded the procession by saying, "Hosanna in the highest." So before we even sat down today, we heard or said or sang the word, "hosanna," nine times! And when we get done singing, "Hosanna, Lord Hosanna" and "Ride On, Ride On in Majesty," you can add four more "hosannas" to the list. Truly "Hosanna!" is "The Word of the Day."

Now what is the meaning of this word, as we have used it and heard it being used? When the crowd at Jerusalem cried, "Hosanna!" and when we here today sing, "Hosanna!" they and we are using it as an acclamation, an ascription of praise. We are welcoming and praising Jesus as the great King. When the crowd shouted, "Hosanna!" they added, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" And in our "hosanna hymns" today, we acclaim Jesus with lines like, "All glory, laud, and honor to you, Redeemer, King," and "For Christ is our Redeemer, the Lord of heav'n our King." To say "Hosanna!" then is something like saying, "Hail the conquering hero!" or "Hail to our coming King!" Clearly "Hosanna!" is being used as an acclamation, an ascription of praise.

But that's not exactly what the word means, literally, if you translate it from the Hebrew. You see, there's one "hosanna" that we missed, and we didn't even notice it when we said it. It was back in Psalm 118, verse 25, where we said, "Save us, we pray, O Lord!" But you say, "That doesn't use the word, 'hosanna.'" Well, yes, it does, if you say it in the original Hebrew. The word, "hosanna," or, as it's pronounced, "hoshi'a na," literally means, and is translated there as, "Save us, we pray!" "Save now, deliver now, we pray you, we beseech you!" That's what "hoshi'a na" actually is saying. Originally "Hosanna!" was a prayer for salvation, a plea for deliverance.

The crowd at Jerusalem, then, uses that plea for deliverance as a shout of acclamation. The prayer for salvation becomes an ascription of praise. They are praising Jesus precisely because they believe he is coming to save them, deliver them. They are acclaiming him as the coming Messiah, sent by God to be the new and great king from the line of David, to deliver Israel from all her foes.

Now they're right and they're wrong at the same time. They're right, in that Jesus is indeed the great Messiah, the deliverer sent by God to save his people. Only it will be a salvation and deliverance much bigger than they realize. And it will happen, it will come about, in a way much stranger than they expect.

Their hosannas sell Jesus a little bit short. He is much more than just a new national king, who will restore Israel to her glory days, peace and prosperity, and get the Romans out of town. Jesus has bigger fish to fry than that.

But, hey, are we any better? We'd be happy with a religion that would validate us as we are, affirm us, make us comfortable, make us feel good about ourselves. We would gladly welcome a king who could pull us out of recession, restore our stock portfolio, reduce our mortgage, and pay for our health care. Oh, and keep the lousy Muslims from attacking us, while you're at it. That kind of a king would get lots of hosannas and look real good in the opinion polls.

But Jesus comes with a bigger and better salvation than that. He's going to deal with a bigger problem, the underlying problem that produces all the other problems, the ones we see and the ones we don't see or realize or admit. And that big problem is our sin. Oh, not just the sins of those other people, the bad people, the immoral people, the people we look down upon, the Romans and the Muslims. But our sins, the sins of us good and respectable people, God's people, whether we're talking temple-going Israelites or church-going Lutherans. Yes, our sins--that's what we need a deliverer for, a Savior. "Save us, we pray, O Lord!" "Hoshi'a na!"

And here's where Jesus fits the bill. In fact, his very name means, "Savior." Remember what the angel said: "And you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." The name "Jesus" in Hebrew is "Yehoshu'a," and it comes from the same root as our word of the day, "hoshi'a na." Jesus is "Yehoshu'a," literally, "The Lord saves." He is the answer to our prayer, "Save us, we pray, O Lord!"

That's why Jesus rides into Jerusalem, to do just that. But how he does it--there is the great surprise. If the word of the day on Palm Sunday is "Hosanna!" the word of the day on Friday will be "Crucify!" Another day, another crowd, a quite different mood and a quite different reception. Instead of an enthusiastic "Hosanna to the Son of David," a mocking "Hail, King of the Jews!" Instead of palm branches, a crown of thorns and a wooden cross. No longer is the prayer and the praise, "Save us, we pray, O Lord!" "Hosanna!" Now it is mockery and insult: "Save yourself, and come down from the cross!" "He saved others; he cannot save himself."

No, he cannot save himself. Because that is, ironically, exactly how he will save others. That is how he saves you and me. Jesus is our Savior, our Yehoshu'a, precisely by not saving himself from this death he most assuredly does not deserve. Jesus saves us from our sins by dying for them, in our place. This is the bigger and better salvation that he brings. We needed a Savior to deliver us from ourselves, to deliver us from the death and judgment we earned by our sins against God. God sends that deliverer, his only Son come from heaven, the only one who can do the job, the only one whose sinless life and holy blood are sufficient to cover the sins of the whole world.

That is the strange way, the surprising way, our conquering hero has conquered death for us. By his all-atoning death, Christ has won for us forgiveness for all our sins, and, with that forgiveness, life that comes out of the tomb--next Sunday at Easter, when he comes out of his own tomb, and at the Last Day, when he comes again and empties out our tombs and raises us up to life everlasting. So don't sell Jesus short! His salvation is even bigger than we can possibly imagine! Our hosannas now are just not big enough! But we'll have a whole eternity to sing them to their fullest!

That reminds me, there's one set of hosannas we haven't mentioned yet. And that's the hosannas we will sing in the Sanctus in just a few minutes: "Hosanna! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" We sing these hosannas right as Jesus rides into this temple today, to give us his body and blood in the Sacrament. Again he comes in humble, lowly fashion. But as of old he comes now having salvation to bestow. In the Blessed Sacrament, our blessed Lord gifts us with the sign and seal of salvation in his body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.

"Hosanna!" "Save us, we pray, O Lord!" The Lord does, in this humble king riding into Jerusalem and coming to us now in this service. If "Hosanna!" is the word of the day for Palm Sunday, then so is "Jesus." "Yehoshu'a" is God's answer to our "Hoshia' na!" And so our prayer for salvation becomes also our song of praise: "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"

Homily for Palm Sunday Mass

by Pope Francis

1. Jesus enters Jerusalem. The crowd of disciples accompanies him in festive mood, their garments are stretched out before him, there is talk of the miracles he has accomplished, and loud praises are heard: "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (Lk 19:38). Crowds, celebrating, praise, blessing, peace: joy fills the air. Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world. He understands human sufferings, he has shown the face of God's mercy, he has bent down to heal body and soul. Now he enters the Holy City!

It is a beautiful scene, full of light, joy, celebration. At the beginning of Mass, we repeated all this. We waved our palms, our olive branches, we sang "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord" (Antiphon); we too welcomed Jesus; we too expressed our joy at accompanying him, at knowing him to be close, present in us and among us as a friend, a brother, and also as a King: that is, a shining beacon for our lives.

And here the first word that comes to mind is "joy!" Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy that comes from having many possessions, but from having encountered a Person: Jesus, from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life's journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are so many of them!

We accompany, we follow Jesus, but above all we know that he accompanies us and carries us on his shoulders. This is our joy, this is the hope that we must bring to this world of ours. Let us bring the joy of the faith to everyone!

2. But we have to ask: why does Jesus enter Jerusalem? Or better: how does Jesus enter Jerusalem? The crowds acclaim him as King. And he does not deny it, he does not tell them to be silent (cf. Lk 19:39-40). But what kind of a King is Jesus? Let us take a look at him: he is riding on a donkey, he is not accompanied by a court, he is not surrounded by an army as a symbol of power. He is received by humble people, simple folk. Jesus does not enter the Holy City to receive the honors reserved to earthly kings, to the powerful, to rulers; he enters to be scourged, insulted and abused, as Isaiah foretold in Is 50:6. He enters to receive a crown of thorns, a staff, a purple robe: his kingship becomes an object of derision. He enters to climb Calvary, carrying his burden of wood.

And this brings us to the second word: Cross. Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to die on the Cross. And it is here that his kingship shines forth in godly fashion: his royal throne is the wood of the Cross! I think of what Pope Benedict XVI said to the cardinals: "You are princes but of a Crucified King"...Jesus says: "I am a King"; but his power is God's power which confronts the world's evil and the sin that disfigures man's face. Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including our own sin, and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God.

Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money, which no-one can bring with him, my grandmother would say, no shroud has pockets!

Greed for money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation! And our personal sins: our failures in love and respect towards God, towards our neighbour and towards the whole of creation. Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God's love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. Dear friends, we can all conquer the evil that is in us and in the world: with Christ, with the force of good! Do we feel weak, inadequate, powerless? But God is not looking for powerful means: it is through the Cross that he has conquered evil!

We must not believe the Evil One when he tells us: you can do nothing to counter violence, corruption, injustice, your sins! We must never grow accustomed to evil! With Christ we can transform ourselves and the world. We must bear the victory of Christ's Cross to everyone everywhere, we must bear this great love of God. And this requires all of us not to be afraid to step outside ourselves, to reach out to others. In the Second Reading, Saint Paul tells us that Jesus emptied himself, assuming our condition, and he came to meet us (cf. Phil 2:7). Let us learn to look up towards God, but also down towards others, towards the least of all! And we must not be afraid of sacrifice. Think of a mother or a father: what sacrifices they make! But why? For love! And how do they bear those sacrifices? With joy, because they are made for their loved ones. Christ's Cross embraced with love does not lead to sadness, but to joy!

3. Today in this Square, there are many young people. This is our third word: youth! Dear young people, I think of you celebrating around Jesus, waving your olive branches. I think of you crying out his name and expressing your joy at being with him! You have an important part in the celebration of faith! You bring us the joy of faith and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart, always, even at the age of seventy or eighty.! A young heart! With Christ, the heart never grows old! Yet all of us, all of you know very well that the King whom we follow and who accompanies us is very special: he is a King who loves even to the Cross and who teaches us to serve and to love. And you are not ashamed of his Cross! On the contrary, you embrace it, because you have understood that it is in giving ourselves that we have true joy and that God has conquered evil through love. You carry the pilgrim Cross through all the Continents, along the highways of the world! You carry it in response to Jesus' call: "Go, make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28:19). You carry it so as to tell everyone that on the Cross Jesus knocked down the wall of enmity that divides people and nations, and he brought reconciliation and peace.

Three words: Joy, Cross and Youth.

Let us ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary. She teaches us the joy of meeting Christ, the love with which we must look to the foot of the Cross, the enthusiasm of the young heart with which we must follow him during this Holy Week and throughout our lives. Amen.

A Palm Sunday Sermon

by Thomas R. Henry, Chicago

Gospel: John 12:12-19

In the Gospels, we are presented with information about Jesus: what he did, what he said, and who he was. But we are given very little information about what he pondered in his heart. One exception is the forty day period of temptation in the wilderness at the very beginning of his ministry…the forty day period we now call the season of Lent. The other is his last night of life in the Garden of Gethsemane…a night in Holy Week we now call Maundy Thursday. In the wilderness at the beginning and in the garden at the end we get a glimpse into his pondering and his prayers. In the wilderness, we hear him respond to his hunger by saying that there are things more important than meeting immediate needs: One does not live by bread alone. In the Garden, he hear him pray for permission to run away: Father, let this cup pass from me.

In the wilderness, he was developing physical and spiritual discipline, bulking himself up for what lay ahead. In the garden, he was fervently praying for a way out of what lay ahead. Yet, in between the wilderness and the garden we are pretty much presented only with his authoritative teachings and his decisive actions. But what if all that time he had kept a journal? What do you think would be in Jesus own journal that would be different from the words written about him in the Gospels? Do you think Jesus would admit to himself and to God that on Palm Sunday he might have been greatly tempted to turn the donkey around and to go the other way? I know that there have been many times in my life when I have wanted to turn the donkey around. Have you? Have you ever wondered if you were going the right way or the wrong way?

My most gut-wrenching wrong way experience was in Washington D.C. I was driving and in the midst of a lot of heavy traffic, I got confused and actually turned the wrong way onto a busy expressway. Just like on Palm Sunday, there were crowds of people. But they were all in their cars. And they were not shouting, "Hosanna!"

Just talking about this now still gives me an icy feeling in the pit of my stomach. For I had not only put my own life in danger that day, but the lives of my wife and my children. And they were not shouting, "Hosanna!" either. I had made a mistake. Jesus had not. He knew what he was doing. But that does not deny the fact that he, too, might have had an icy feeling in the pit of his stomach. He was putting not only his own life but the life of his followers in danger. He knew what he was doing, and some of those followers must have wished that he would turn the donkey around and return to the relative safety of his teachings.

We mostly relate to Jesus as God, but he was also human. That is what makes him

GOD-with-US. Today imagine with me what he must have pondered and prayed about as he rode into Jerusalem, knowing, or at the very least strongly suspecting, that the people who were cheering would later be jeering. We now read this story as a story of the betrayal of Jesus, but people then believed that he had betrayed them. That he had gone the wrong way. Yet, they were also fascinated by him. Some of the pharisees were rightly concerned when they said, “Look the whole world has gone after him." Those pharisees would have been happy if Jesus had turned the donkey around and ridden off into oblivion.

The people were fascinated with Jesus on Palm Sunday as he rode like a king into the city. For it was tradition then that when a king came in peace, he would ride a donkey. The people were also fascinated with Jesus on Good Friday as they gathered like an audience at a daytime television talk show to watch him be crucified. Today, we continue to be fascinated with him. Even the centuries themselves are measured by Jesus, backwards and forwards from his birth. And yet, with all of the continued fascination with Jesus, do we, even we who are churchgoers, really know who Jesus was? Who Jesus is? Was Jesus the incarnation of God or an admirable man? A gentle shepherd, or a good teacher, or a political organizer? For most people, for most of the time, it doesn't seem to matter much, that is, until they face a crisis or death, or another Holy Week and Easter. Then the question mark appears again, standing stark before them and before us like the old rugged cross on that hill far away. Who is Jesus?

Jesus is fully human and he is fully divine. That is what the creeds all say. That is the faith of the Church. He was called the Son of God and the son of Mary and Joseph, and as I have said a couple of times before, he looked just like all of his parents! He was and is the one who makes it perfectly clear that God is with us; that while God is above and beyond us, God is not above and beyond being hurt by human weakness and evil.

Jesus is the one who was so trusting of his heavenly parent, that he could ride through the adulation of the palm-waving people without being diverted from Gods purpose to their purpose. They wanted a miracle worker who would cure all their diseases and raise them from the dead; they wanted a larger-than-life hero who would overthrow Rome. They wanted a way out of it all. He knew that you had to go through it all.

Jesus is the one who could have his last supper with his friends, knowing they would deny him and betray him. He is the one who could hold fast to his faith and conviction even during humiliation as the crown of thorns was placed on his head.

Jesus is the one who could go to his death praying for those who put him on the cross: Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

Yet, he had moments of doubt and agony that week. On Palm Sunday, following the parade, Luke says that he wept over Jerusalem, and maybe for himself. On Thursday in the Garden of Gethsemane, his sweat fell like great drops of blood as he prayed: Father, let this cup pass from me. But, nevertheless, not what I want but what you want. The struggle expressed by these words was an internal struggle. What was facing Jesus was both what he wanted and what he didnt want. He wanted the outcome. He didn't want the process. Sound familiar? Feel the fear from one of your own past or present experiences: some critical decision you have made or have yet to make; some gut-wrenching experience you have gone through or are going through. Feel that icy fear in the pit of your stomach if you really want to know who Jesus is and what Holy Week must have been for him.

By Friday, his death was certain. On the cross he cried: My God, why have you forsaken me? But in the end he said: Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. From Palm Sunday through Good Friday, we watch God at work. That is why this week is a paradigm week. We all have holy weeks, although they may seem more hellish than holy. We can see the parallels in our own lives as we go through the week with Jesus. Holy Week is Gods week and it is also our week. Holy Week is the ultimate experience of being of good courage, holding fast to that which is good, and returning to no one evil for evil.

Jesus had the power of trust and concentration; of reliance upon the faithfulness of God to work for good in all things for him and with him. I believe that Jesus was not predestined to do what he did. Yes, he was brought to Palm Sunday by God. Through his very close relationship with God; through the earlier decisions he had made in his life; through the experiences he had with people who affected his life; and through his own sense of purpose and calling. But I believe he could have made a last minute change of plans. He could have turned the donkey around. If he had done that, he would have relieved his immediate anxiety and would not have had to sweat blood in the Garden later that week. Instead, he chose differently. He had prepared himself way back there in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry. And he saw it through to the end.

Jesus made his decision to ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, pretty much knowing what lay ahead, at least as far as Friday. It was in his riding on, and not turning back, that he made the day of resurrection possible. He was given Easter and eternal glory by God. He was given Easter. And because of that, we are given Easter. Now we know more than 2000 years later, that we, too, can be of good courage, hold fast to that which is good, return to no one evil for evil, and live through it all.

Riding on. Riding on with that icy feeling in the pits of our stomachs. You see, that icy feeling may not be just our human fear. It may actually be a God-given sensation. That icy feeling may be that which tempers an attitude of arrogance which would keep us from questioning whether or not we should keep going in the direction we are going. Arrogance and cowardice have something in common. So, questioning is necessary. We dare not ride on blindly or arrogantly, staying a course that should not be stayed. Questioning we must, as Jesus did, in prayer, with discipline, in order to know if we are going the wrong way or the right way.

Jesus knew he was going the right way. He would not turn the donkey around. On the other hand, I knew I was going the wrong way. What those people in those cars were waving were not palms. I had to get my car turned around in order to be going the right way. But the icy feeling didn't go away, and it still hasn't as I ride with you into another Holy Week.

Story of a Redeemed Donkey


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