Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass.
Palm Sunday, for me, has always been a reminder of the fickle opinions of men. In the first Gospel we hear at Mass, the crowd is calling Hosanna, a Hebrew word meaning save us. They recognize Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah. Jesus enters Jerusalem to cries of joy. It’s much like the welcome that greets me as I enter the house after an afternoon out. The children come running, hands wide open, smiles spread across their faces. Mommy comes to love us and take care of us!
As the opinions of men change in today’s narration of the Passion, so too do the opinions of children in my house. Within days of Jesus’s jubilant welcome, The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds (Mt 27) to call for Jesus’s crucifixion. Crucify him! Crucify him! they cry. It’s an abrupt change compared to the earlier exuberance. In my home, the mom is “The greatest mother in the world” when treats are baked and fun outings are announced. Within the same day, with the simple utterance of “Time for school,” or “Please clean up your bedroom,” she has fallen in public opinion to “rude,” “the worst mom ever,” or a mother who “doesn’t love us.”
In the first Gospel today, I see Jesus fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah, as a confirmation that he is not deterred by the fickle opinions of the world. He still (and always) comes to save us.
Say to daughter Zion , “Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”
In ancient Middle Eastern countries, leaders would ride in on horses if they were going to war, but on a donkey if they came in peace. This for me is the Good News of the Gospel. I can have a good day, a bad day, or a day in between, but he’s still coming for me—to fight for me, to die for me, to win victory for me in his meek and peaceful way. He means no harm, and wants only my good.
This is what we do for our children, on days when we’re called rude and mean, and on days when we’re the Greatest Mom in the World. We come to them in peace, wishing to fight for them, lay our lives down for them, show them the good way. So, let’s not let the opinions of children or men change our motherly resolve. I will still require school time and clean rooms, even if my children don’t appreciate the value of education and discipline. I will still raise my children to pray, obey, and love God, even if the world around me changes its opinions of right and wrong. And as my king comes in peace, that’s how I strive to relate with my children—meaning them no harm, wanting only their good.