It had happened perhaps two years before – a day people would remember – when the Man of Nazareth, the one they called Jesus, had fed a crowd, yes, a crowd of some 5000 people with only 5 loaves.
This sort of thing, people could not forget!
On that day, they wanted to make him king – they were convinced he was the one they had been waiting for, the one sent by God, for sure, to free them from the Roman domination (Jn.6:15).
A man who could perform such things, it was obvious that God was with him in a special way.
And, of course, the apostles would have been very happy with this outcome…
They would have responsible places in this new kingdom!
But Jesus had told them to get in their boat and cross to the other shore.
He had stayed behind to send back the crowd home and he, himself, had gone to the hills to pray (Mt.14:22-23).
They had not understood, nobody could understand, all the more so that he was often teaching about “the kingdom of God”.
He was saying that this kingdom was among them (Lk.17:21).
What did he mean then?…
And now, there he is, sitting on a donkey, surrounded by a crowd of people welcoming him as he enters Jerusalem (Mt.21:1-11).
They call him: “Son of David” – David, the greatest king of their history, so, in their minds, Jesus, his descendant, is also king!
This time, surprisingly, he does not refuse the acclaim of all those people.
Their putting down clothing on the road where he is to pass, their waving palms, their shouts of joy at his coming, –
he seems happy with this whole display in his honour.
He even sternly corrects the Pharisees who want him to make the people shut up:
“I tell you, if these keep silence the stones will cry out” (Lk.19:39-40).
As I look at the scene, I ask myself: ‘Why?… Why now?…’
Indeed: Why has Jesus suddenly accepted this ‘demonstration’, as if he had changed his mind!…
As if he were now ready to accept human glory and praises surging all around him.
The answer is: We do not know!
This is the simple truth, we are not aware of the reason for Jesus’ behaving in this way on that day.
Down through the centuries, the question has been asked nagging at people without receiving a satisfactory answer.
There have been speculations of all kinds, different hypotheses offered claiming that he chose to enter the city in triumph for this or that reason.
Theologians and exegetes have given some interpretations of his behaviour on that day.
But the plain truth is that nobody knows for sure!
I look at him and I ask myself… I ask… him…
When questioned by Pilate about it, he was to reply: “Mine is not a kingdom of this world” (Jn.18:36).
He had said: “The kingdom of God is among you,” sometimes translated as: “it is within you”…
Perhaps this is really where his kingdom is…
Perhaps… Maybe… Possibly…
This could be what today’s celebration is all about:
Welcoming the Lord into our lives, all the areas of our lives, all that we live and experience from day to day…