Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!
How old were you when you realized the “Holy, Holy” that we sing, chant or recite is a direct reminder every single week of the longest gospel reading of the year?
Yes, the gospel of Palm Sunday.
The blessed day where we as a catholic church own the passion of our Lord, take part in denying him, and then hide in fear.
So much symbolism for us to reinforce with our families, especially in our climate of attention seeking brashness. Entering Jerusalem, and thusly, death, it was a curious counterpart to His humble entrance into our earthly world as Jesus was greeted as the Messiah, by His followers. Our Redeemer did not ride in on a war horse, with accolades of victory. Our Redeemer rode in on a symbol of peace, the donkey, surrounded by crowds chanting “Hosanna”, meaning “save us.”
The word Hosanna had become a joyful petition for the Messiah amongst the Jews according to Pope Benedict.
The second symbolic gesture fulfills the Old Testament prophecies. Ezekiel foretold of the Messiah’s journey coming from the East and the judgement of the temples. Jesus did just that, arriving from the Mount of Olives just to the East of the David’s Holy City. And then, He proceeded to enter the temple, overturn the tables and insisted the temple once again return to a house of prayer.
This cleansing of the temple infuriated and threatened the Jewish leaders.
Our recitation of the Hosanna every week at mass is a beautiful symbol to which we look for a connection between what happened then and what is happening today. The Hosanna is said just before the Eucharist, where the bread and wine are consecrated, and when we can be the most intimate with Christ. Our plea of “Save us” just moments before He becomes present to us is so similar to the crowds of Jerusalem that rushed in to see Him waving their palms.
Those chanting “Hosanna” were ready to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, but there were two other crowds reacting to His presence.
The second crowd was that of the Chief Priests and Elders who were not happy with Jesus interfering with the commerce under their roof or the attention they were unwillingly receiving from the Romans. Not liking the rules Jesus was imposing, the Chief Priests did not want Him meddling with their affairs. This is so relatable in the sense that there are areas in all our lives in which we are not so comfortable with Jesus imposing any restrictions on us – even to the extent of turning some tables over.
The third crowd is the one that asks for Barrabas’ release. Those, when under the gun, deny Jesus. They kind of stick around to see what happens to Jesus, but don’t want any trouble. I often love to see my own children tested when asked what and why do they believe about Jesus. As every parent, there are proud moments and disappointing ones as well.
As we prepare for the most blessed of weeks of the year, ponder in which camp Christ sees us.
And let the moment of “Hosanna” each time we celebrate mass, be a moment of choice into which crowd we belong.