Yr A ~ Palm ~ Matthew 21:1-11
Who is this?
On our recent trip to New York we were strolling down 5th Avenue on a Saturday afternoon, which meant the street was pretty crowded, so we didn’t really notice the large group that was standing on the corner across the street. Well, we didn’t notice them until we heard the scream. Or was it a shriek? We looked over and this sea of teenage girls suddenly burst into motion and raced down the side street screaming at the top of their lungs. We all looked at each other and laughed, and figured it must have been a celebrity. And instantly the question hit us, “I wonder who it is?”
Now, we didn’t care enough to go and find out – anything that sends 50 teenaged girls screaming is probably not on my radar – but we still wondered. Who is this?
You can’t help yourself. You see a commotion, something that attracts a crowd, and you’re undeniably intrigued. Who is this? Why are people reacting this way? What am I missing? I should go and find out.
Can you imagine a city teeming with pilgrims, all fired up because it’s a big festival but also seething because the Roman soldiers are everywhere and everyone is constantly under threat? Matthew’s gospel describes the city as being in turmoil. One of the reasons was apparently the arrival of Jesus – on a donkey – reminding the people of the peaceful king in Zechariah – thumbing his nose at the Romans (even if the Romans didn’t realize the symbolism of the donkey, the Jewish pilgrims certainly would have). The crowd is singing, or shouting hosanna, or waving branches and palms, and they’re causing a ruckus. If you were there you wouldn’t be able to contain yourself. You’d be craning your neck trying to get a look, or moving through the crowd to get closer – and there’d only be one thing on your mind: who is this?
Who IS this?? This is a very dangerous and provocative man! read on