Our 1st reading is a prophecy of Zechariah, who foresees a restoration for Israel. Reminiscent of the golden days of the kingdom, he foresees God’s plan to bring about a universal kingdom (from seas to sea) through a humble messiah, one not riding in on a warhorse, but riding on a colt, the foal of an ass, a beast of burden, reminiscent of the days when the king was a shepherd, a pastoral leader.  The case can be made that Jesus was very aware of this prophecy, and of his role, when he rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday just as Zechariah describes. This in contrast, and perhaps challenge to, a procession that was taking place on the opposite side of the city at the same time:  Pilate riding into Jerusalem from his luxurious palace at Caesarea Maritima, coming into the city to preclude any nationalistic fervor and incidents during Passover.  He came accompanied by legionaries in a military procession, very different from Jesus’ entry. Who was the real king? After the resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit, there can be little doubt!  That Matthew also saw Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as a fulfilment of Zechariah’s prophecy is pretty clear. In his  Gospel the disciples are sent to fetch an ass and its colt.  He may not have caught that the passage in Zechariah was referring to one animal, not two.
Our take-away – Jesus is a humble messiah.

Sunday, July 9, 2017