Dr. John Vazhakoottathil OCD March 18th, 2018

 

When Jesus entered into Jerusalem mounted himself on an ass the common people of Jerusalem welcomed him with praise and laud acclamations. We call this entry into Jerusalem, a triumphant entry. Is it a re-entry of Jesus into Jerusalem after a victory in a war? Or is it a march into Jerusalem to liberate it or conquer it from the foreign rule? Jesus acknowledged before Pontius Pilot that he was a king. But he clarified that he was not a king in the worldly sense of the term. He did not wage wars of pride and avarice by killing the people and looting the nations. Hence, in what way the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is a triumphant entry?

The Gospel narratives reveal that the glorious triumph of Jesus was over the human pride and selfishness. Though he was in the form of God, he emptied himself and became man with all the limitations of human nature. He underwent within himself all the various temptations of pride and selfishness. He had the temptation to satisfy his ego by conquering the world using scheming politics and other cunning worldly means. He had the temptation to run away from the people who were ungrateful and ignorant. But he overcame all these temptations of the worldly satisfactions of mind and body by his profound prayer experience, by his carefully nurtured love of God and love of neighbor. He fought a positive war with his ego-centrism in his each encounter with his Father, during prayer. His entry into Jerusalem, mounting on an ass itself is self revelatory. He revealed to the world that the so called expressions of human powerlessness are the secret of human power. He revealed through his life and teachings the transforming power of humility, patience and mercy.

The great Indian sage Mahatma Gandhi, imbibing the values of the gospel and the great Indian culture, said that nonviolence is the expression of human power. Violence is the expression of cowardice and immaturity. Only a person who has self confidence, who has a mastery over himself, can practice nonviolence. He does not attack, not because that he has no capacity to attack, but because of his realization that evil begets evil. Jesus said to Peter that he had the power to call the heavenly powers to destroy his adversaries. But he submitted himself even to the unjust worldly authorities, who were blind and deaf because of their envy and greed, and he underwent the punishments humbly and patiently. The contemplation of this powerful death of Jesus Christ illumined millions of human hearts to understand the transformative value of a self sacrificing love.

We have to realize and the make the world realize how joyful will be the human life if we practice the heroic virtues of humility, patience and mercy. Only by practicing these virtues in our daily life we acknowledge the positive significance of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Only by living a life of humility, patience and mercy we can prove to the world that we believe in God.