Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hosanna in the Highest

At every Mass, we repeat the words of the crowds gathered in Jerusalem, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the Highest.”  We call to mind this glorious day, Jesus’ triumphant march into Jerusalem.  On this day, Jesus rides into Jerusalem like a king.  He rides upon a donkey.  The crowds throw their cloaks down before Him, lest He walk on dirt.  They wave palms in the air, hailing Him as the blessed king, the one who will redeem Israel.  The whole world was bursting out with joy, so much that if the crowds did not express it, the stones would should for joy.

Jesus enters Jerusalem as God’s appointed King and High Priest.  He is counted as one of us by His humanity, yet by the dignity of His Divine Person He is rightfully represents us all before His Father as the head of the human race.  For "Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.  Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

On behalf of His people, He takes upon Himself the full weight of human sin: its guilt and pain.  He goes so far as to accept death and death on a cross, a mark being accursed.  Our king humbles Himself in a grand liturgy, a work on behalf of His people.  The suffering He takes upon Himself becomes an act of perfect love never before seen in humanity.  This love is a cry on behalf of His people for mercy.  It pierces the Heavens into the Heavenly Sanctuary to our Father.  Seeing such faithful love from broken humanity, the Father responds in love in return pouring out His mercy on mankind, forgiving their sins and giving them the power to be children of God.

See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God! (1 Jn 3:1).  As children, we are called to participate in the life of Jesus His Son.  Every time we gather for Mass, we recall Jesus’ procession as we cry out Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  The whole Pascal mystery from Jesus’ death to His resurrection is made present in the Liturgy when the whole body of Christ gathers to re-present Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.  On the Church’s altars we offer Jesus’ perfect love and obedience to the Father.  The one Sacrifice which was offered once and for all is made present on the Church’s altar so that we may join with Mary and John at the foot of the Cross.  We can stand in horror of sin fully revealed and in amazement at Christ’s love.  We stand, offering our own lives to the Father.  We bring Him all our prayers, all our good deeds, and all of our sufferings and join them to the passion of Christ in thanksgiving to the Father. As representatives of humanity, sharing in Christ’s priesthood and heirs to the Father’s kingdom, we also offer a liturgy, a work on behalf of the people.  We cry out to the Lord in love, begging Him to save the whole world.

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