No matter how close we are, Jesus has more to reveal

By: By Shawn Reeves

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, April 13

(At the procession with palms) Matthew 21:1-11; Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22:8-9,17-18,19-20,23-24; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14 — 27:66

Every Sunday, when we declare, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest,” my mind races to the original events of this Sunday’s celebration, to the original Palm Sunday. And every Palm Sunday those words take on their full magnitude in my prayer life, as we are ritually inserted into those ancient moments, participating in that original declaration as if the past and the present have met and intertwined together around that announcement of joy: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Ancient Jerusalem has taken residence in the present moment, as the echo of her words ring out in our midst. Jesus has arrived in our city. Hosanna in the highest.

But almost immediately after this pronouncement, the people of Jerusalem issue another statement, a question: “Who is this?” Lent seems to be at once an intensified gaze upon Jesus and an intentional penetration into that question, “Who is this?” Really, one could say the whole of Christian life centers on and grows within this one question, for the entire Christian life is a life of perpetual and increasing degrees of conversion toward Christ.

Whenever we are convinced that we have mastered the question, Jesus reveals more of himself, dilating the eyes of our faith, and pouring ever more of his light into them, and we are again forced to ask in awe, “Who is this?” The answer is both simple and immeasurable.

He is the one whose well-trained tongue speaks to the weary a word that will rouse them.

He is the one who emptied himself, coming in human likeness.

He is the one whose ears the Father opened morning after morning.

He is the one who did not rebel, did not turn back.

He is the one who humbled himself.

He is the one who did not shield his face from buffets and spitting.

He is the one who was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

He is the one whose hands and feet were pierced.

He is the one whose blood is covenant, shed for the forgiveness of sins.

He is the one who has given us his body to eat.

He is the one who was betrayed and denied by his followers.

He is the one whose garments were divided and vestments taken by lots.

He is the one whose death compelled the earth to quake and tombs to be opened.

He is the one who proclaimed the Father’s name to his brethren.

He is the one who called all to praise the Lord.

He is the one who set his face like flint, and expected God to be his help.

He is the one who was not disgraced but has been given the name above every name.

He is the one about whom was said, “Truly, this was the Son of God,” the King of the Jews.

He is the one who has been raised from the dead.

He is the one at whose name every knee will bend, whether in heaven or on earth or under the earth.

He is Jesus Christ, the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Who is this? “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”


SHAWN REEVES has served as the director of religious education at St. John’s Catholic Newman Center in Champaign since 2001. He and his family are members of St. Malachy Parish in Rantoul.

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