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The Green Branches and the Cross

On the Gospel of Luke 19:28-40

This Sunday we begin the journey of Holy Week. We begin to enter into this time of contemplating Our Blessed Lord’s passion, death and resurrection by meditating first on Our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem.



One of the striking things about Our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem is the crowd. We hear the exclamation “Hosanna” from them as they praise and glorify Jesus as he enters Jerusalem. The crowd also spread their garments on the ground as Jesus rode along on the donkey. What is striking is the contrast between those who have come to know Jesus through his three years of ministry and those who failed to recognise him. People had heard of the prophet from Nazareth, but he did not appear to have any importance for Jerusalem, and the people there did not know him. The crowd that paid homage to Jesus at the gateway to the city was not the same crowd that later demanded his crucifixion. In this failure to recognise Jesus through a combination of fear and indifference, we see something of the city’s tragedy of which Jesus spoke of a number of times.

To understand these different cries of the crowd, we need only to cast an eye on our own heart. To quote St. Bernard: ‘How different the cries, ‘away with him, away with him, crucify him,’ and then, ‘blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, hosanna in the highest!’ How different the cries that are now calling him the ‘King of Israel’ and then in a few days’ time will be saying, ‘We have no king but Caesar!’ What a contrast between the green branches and the cross, between the flowers and the thorns! Before they were offering their own clothes for him to walk upon, and so soon afterwards they were stripping him of his, and casting lots upon them.’

The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem asks for loyalty and perseverance from each one of us, it calls us to deepen our faithfulness, and for our resolutions to be more than just bright lights that sparkle for a moment and then fade away. There are some striking contrasts in the depths of our hearts, for we are capable of the very greatest of things and the very worst, and so if we wish to possess the divine life and triumph with Christ, we need to be constant and through penance deaden within us anything that separates us from God and prevents us from following Our Lord unto the Cross.

Let us enter into this Holy Week with Our Lady, who was there with her Son at his time of suffering. Let us remain close to her. She will draw us ever closer to her Son and help us to fall more deeply in love with Him.



After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them.As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”They replied, “The Lord needs it.”They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

– Luke 19:28-40


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