“Straight from the Donkey’s Mouth”

Jesus did not die for an institution. He died for people for persons. That is to say, he died for individuals. Jesus died for persons with names, faces, personalities. He died for persons with disabilities, histories, and sins. Every sin Jesus bore on the cross had a name attached. They were very real thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions. It was real anger, lust, pride, genuine evil. Some of these sins were yours. Some were mine. He did that because he loves each person regardless of their sin. What wondrous love is this indeed! Jesus died because he loved you. If you were the only person alive, Jesus would have died for you. How incredible is that?!?! This is good news indeed. This is the best possible news! Something to think about as we begin Holy Week, drawing ever closer to Good Friday.

The painting to the right is Palm Sunday, by Toni Crosby

First Reading: Psalm 22:1-5, 22-31—From Dereliction to Deliverance

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night but find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me. 22 I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: 23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! 24 For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me but heard when I cried to him.

25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him. 26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before him. 28 For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. 29 To him indeed shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust and I shall live for him. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord 31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 21:1-11—Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

1 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”