Say to the daughter Zion:
“Look, your King comes to you,
Humble and riding on a donkey.”
~ Matthew 21:5
Imagine a young woman walking down the busy streets of Jerusalem, annoyed by the busy scene. The streets are crowded and stinky with the merchandise of the many salesmen. They all try shouting above the voices of their competition, but it is of little use amidst the noise of the crowds. As the sun beats down on the busy area, the woman occasionally shades her face with a scarf. Her main prerogative on this particular day is most likely to get the things the needs and get out of there.
After she pushes her way through the people for some time, still unable to purchase the items she had come for, the woman began to hear some commotion in the distance. Ahead a little ways, closer to the main road into Jerusalem, there were hundreds of people gathering and shouting. From her distance, it almost looked like they were crazy, shouting to the sky with their arms in the air. She was interested to know what was happening, maybe only curious, but she knew she had to find out.
Heart pounding, the woman reached the edge of the road. She bent over with her hands on her knees and tried to catch her breath, but only did so for a moment. No, she could not rest for long: the energy among the people was too strong for her not to be pulled into it. She stood up and looked around. And then she saw Him: Her king, humble, and riding on a donkey.
The Jews, much like the woman in this story, had grown up with the words of the Old Testament prophets Messianic prophesies ringing in their heads. Most upstanding Jews had probably heard verses on the Kings coming hundreds of times. Both Isaiah and Zachariah prophesied about the coming of the Messiah in the way that will be proclaimed at Mass tomorrow. The Jewish people had been waiting for so long and now their time of waiting was over.
However, this next week of the church is the ultimate test. Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem is the last place that he publicly makes his presence known and stirs the hearts of the people before his death. It is like the final altar call for the Jews of Jerusalem. Most of them could probably guess that the leaders were not too happy with Jesus. Some of them might have even heard them whispering as they schemed about how to get rid of Him. They could have run back to their comfortable lives, but that would mean running from the truth. Even in the face of danger, they all knew that He was the Messiah foretold in the scriptures, without Him saying a word.
Imagine the feeling of peace that would come over that woman, as she places her head scarf down in front of her Lord’s donkey. The noisy market place has faded into the distance: all that was left was her desire to know and love Jesus more. She will follow Him, she says to herself as He rides away into the city, listening to His every word, from that moment forward. In the coming days, she will hear more whispering, and will hear even Jesus explain His coming trials. Those ‘red flags’ no longer bother her. She is resigned to the truth of His message and nothing else will suffice.