Entry into Jerusalem - Fulton Sheen
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The Life of Christ
Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Hosanna for the Son of David; Hosanna in heaven above. – Matthew 21:9

King of Israel – John 12:13


He was the promised Prince of David’s line; the One who came with a Divine Mission. Hosanna, which was originally a prayer, was now a triumphant welcome to a Savior King. Not wholly understanding why He was sent, nor the kind of peace He would bring, they nevertheless confessed that He was Divine. The only ones who did not share in their acclaim were the Pharisees:

Some of the Pharisees, who were among the multitudes said to Him: Master, rebuke they disciples.
  – Luke 19:39

It was unusual that they should have appealed to Our Lord, since they were disgusted with Him for having accepted homage from the crowds. With awful majesty, Our Lord retorted:

I tell you, if they should keep silence, the stones will cry out instead. – Luke 19:40

If men were silent, nature itself would cry out and proclaim His Divinity. Stones are hard, but if they cry out, then how much harder must be the hearts of men who would not recognize God’s mercy before them. If the disciples were silent, enemies would have nothing to gain, for mountains and seas would become vocal.

The entry has been called triumphant; but well He knew that “Hosannas” would change to “Crucify,” and palms would be turned into spears. Amid the shouts of the multitude He could hear the whispers of a Judas and the angry voices before Pilate’s palace. The throne to which He was hailed was a Cross, and His real coronation would be a Crucifixion. Garments aplenty beneath His feet today, but on Friday He would be denied even His own. From the very beginning He knew what was in the heart of man, and never once did He suggest that the Redemption of men’s souls could be accomplished by vocal fireworks. Though He was a King, and though they now admitted Him as their King and Lord, He knew the King’s welcome which awaited Him was to be Calvary.

Tears were in His eyes, not because of the Cross which awaited Him, but because of the woes impending those whom He came to save and would have none of Him. Looking over the city: He wept over it, and said:

Ah, if Thou too couldst understand above all in this day that is granted thee, the ways that can bring thee peace! As it is, they are hidden from thy sight. – Luke 19:41,42

He saw with historical accuracy the descent of the forces of Titus, and yet the eyes that saw the future so clearly were almost blinded with tears. He spoke of Himself as willing and able to have averted that doom by gathering the guilty ones under His wing as the hen doth gather chickens, but they would not. As the great patriot of all ages, He looked beyond His own suffering and fixed His eye on the city that rejected Love. To see evil, and to be unable to remedy it because of human perversity, is the greatest anguish of all. To see the wickedness and be baffled by the waywardness of the evildoer is enough to break a heart. The father is cast down with anguish when he sees the wrongdoing of his son. What prompted His tears were the eyes that would not see and the ears that would not hear.

In the life of every individual and in the life of every nation, there are three moments: a time of visitation or privilege in the form of a blessing from God; a time of rejection in which the Divine is forgotten; and a time of doom or disaster. Judgment (or disaster) is the consequence of human decisions and proves that the world is guided by God’s presence. His tears over the city showed Him as the Lord of History, giving men grace, and yet never destroying their freedom to reject it. But in disobeying His will, men destroy themselves; in stabbing Him, it is their own hearts they slay; in denying Him, it is their city and their nation that they bring to ruin. Such was the message of His tears as the King goes to the Cross.

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