Lk. 19:28-40; Is. 50:4-7; Phil. 2:6-11; Lk. 22:14-23:56
The First Reading from the Gospel of Luke narrates the entry of Jesus in Jerusalem on a colt. During this event, His disciples appeared to recognize the Divine Person of Jesus as their King
The contemporaries of Jesus were familiar with the concept of Royal Entries of the Emperors. Triumphal entry was a procession that was the highest honour bestowed upon a victorious general in the ancient Roman Republic.
On that day, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a borrowed donkey’s colt, one that had never been ridden before. The disciples spread their cloaks on the donkeyfor Jesus to sit on, and the multitudes came out to welcome Him, laying before Him their cloaks and the branches of palm trees. The people hailed and praised Him as the “King who comes in the name of the Lord” as He rode to the temple, where He taught the people, healed them, and drove out the money-changers and merchants who had made His Father’s house a “den of robbers”
Jesus’ purpose in riding into Jerusalem was to make public His claim to be their Messiah and King of Israel in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Matthew (21:5) says that the King coming on the foal of a donkey was an exact fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy: “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9) Jesus rides into His capital city as a conquering King and is hailed by the people as such, in the manner of the day. The streets of Jerusalem, the royal city, are open to Him.
There is a very important point to note in this passage. When Jesus sent the two apostles to look for the donkey, he put in their lips the explanation to be given to the owner, “The master needs it.”
The master needed a service from the owner of the donkey. Today he needs the service of each and every one of us. He keeps on sending the message repeatedly. “The master needs us.” We can say “yes” to his invitation or we can accept it.
When the master used the colt first time in its life it saw people laying before it cloaks and the branches of palm trees. The colt could not think that the reverence was made for it. It was for the person that it was carrying.
When we say yes to the call, we are transformed. We become respected members of the society. Everyone respects the position and not the person. But often we misunderstand that I as an individual is respected. And I become proud. This pride will cause my down fall. When we respond to the call of Jesus everyone sees Jesus in us. Everyone hears the voice of Jesus through us. Everyone sees the actions of Jesus through us. Everyone experiences the presence of Jesus in us. So when I receive love and respect from others it should not lead me to be proud. The prophets were revered because people saw the presence of God in them. Saints are venerated because they had the presence of God in their lives.
This is the message of Palm Sunday the master needs us.