The Catholic Defender: The beginning of Holy Week Begins In Jerusalem
“Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, Meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass”.
The Old Testament Prophecy comes to life every year as the Catholic Church commemorates Holy Week beginning with the Lord’s triumphant Entry into Jerusalem.
There is another story from the Bible that is extremely interesting to Jesus entry into Jerusalem that connects Jesus as the Son of David. Jesus challenges the Pharisees to explain the meaning that He is the Son of David (Matthew 22:41-45). We see King David instruct his cabinet to place Solomon on his donkey and proclaim him king. This is significant:
And the king said to them, "Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon; and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet there anoint him king over Israel; then blow the trumpet, and say, 'Long live King Solomon!' You shall then come up after him, and he shall come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead; and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah." And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, "Amen! May the LORD, the God of my lord the king, say so. As the LORD has been with my lord the king, even so may he be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David." So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites, went down and caused Solomon to ride on King David's mule, and brought him to Gihon. There Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tent, and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, "Long live King Solomon!" And all the people went up after him, playing on pipes, and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth was split by their noise.
Matthew 21:1-11 States, “When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me. And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, The master has need of them. Then he will send them at once. This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:
Say to the 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.
The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying:
Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.
And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, who is this? And the crowds replied, This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee”.
As we grow in our knowledge and wisdom of our Faith, may we allow the King of Kings to enter into the gates of our hearts.
The one who stands knocking says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his Throne “ (Revelation 3:20-21).
The Lord Jesus quickly moves into Holy Week which leads to his passion and death. Sometimes, because of our own weakness, Jesus triumphant entry into our hearts can be marred because of our personal sin after accepting Him in our lives. Sometimes we may even loose our joy in the faith.
St. Paul gives us encouragement writing, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalitites, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38).
This is important because many of us will endure trials and tribulations, many of us will endure terrible passion and we are not left orphans. Jesus endured his passion for all so that we can offer our own suffering and tie it to Jesus.
St. Peter writes, “Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:13-17).
During the Gulf War, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, I would have people come to me for support from both superiors and subordinates.
I remember our Maintenance Officer was so afraid that we were not coming home because of his fear of the build up of Desert Shield. People truly feared the coming war.
Iraq at this time had the 4th largest Military in the world, their threat of Weapons of mass destruction was a real concern to us. I am so thankful that my faith was strong and could be a support for others. I was teaching people from my foxhole how to pray the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, reading the bible, encouraging them about the Faith.
What a blessing it was for me to find later that some of them did convert to the Catholic Faith as a result of our foxhole experiences.
While I was deployed to Iraq in 2009, I was at JSS UR when we were attacked with mortar fire. We were in the middle of a Platoon Sergeant meeting when off in the distance, we heard an explosion. Seconds later we heard another explosion much closer and finally, we had a third explosion that landed right behind us.
Everyone dove to the floor in response, some even grabbing chairs as shields. My back was towards this explosion and it was so loud it caused instant choas, but I remember instinctively going down to one knee, believe it or not, the Tebow prose.
Thinking back at that, I didn’t really know Tim Tebow nor his image other than he was quarterback for Florida and was an “enemy” to Alabama (lol). But that’s how I responded to the direct explosion to my back. I immediately went out to make sure there were no injuries and praise the Lord, there was none. The percussion caused my third and fourth cervical disk to lodge into my spinal cord causing eventually numbness and heat from my right food to my face and my left shoulder terrible pain.
Today, I have a titanium plate, titanium screws, part of my right hip, and a spacer placed where my 3rd cervical disk used to be. The operation I received was like that of Peyton Manning who used to be the Quarterback for the Denver Broncos.
I raise this because I hope that it shows how faith can have an impact during the most difficult times. May the Lord give us strength during times of trial and tribulation. So that in our own lives, we point to Christ in all we do. We are the Easter people, we know the victory is already won.
St. Paul writes, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most pitiable. But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order. Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming, then the end. When he shall have delivered up the kingdom of God even the father when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power for he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”
Lord, you are Holy above all others, and all of the strength that I need is in your hands. I am not asking, Lord, that you take this trial away. Instead, I simply ask that Your will be done in my life. Whatever that means, that is what I want. But I admit that it's hard, Lord. Sometimes I feel like I can't go on. The pain and the fear are too much for me, and I know that I don't have the strength on my own to get through this. I know that I can come to you, Jesus, and that you will hear my prayer. I know that it is not your intent to bring me to this point just to leave me in the wilderness alone. Please, Lord, give me the strength that I need to face today. I don't have to worry about tomorrow. If you just give me the strength that I need today that is all I need. Keep me from sinning during this trial. Instead, help me to keep my eyes on you. You are the Holy Lord, and all of my hope rests in you. Thank you for hearing my prayer. In Jesus' name. Amen.