January 29, 2018

The Transfer of the Relics of the Great-Martyr Ignatius the God-bearer (of Antioch)

1 John 2:18-3:10; Mark 11:1-11

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Today’s gospel is the first of four passages this week that summarize the passion according to Mark – by his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies and makes clear that he is entering the royal city of David as the true King, the Messiah. But the manner of his entry gives a number of hints as to what sort of king he is. While a Roman emperor or general returning from a great victory would enter a city with a huge retinue of soldiers and disgraced captives, Jesus comes into Jerusalem without any impressive posse except for his disciples. A triumphant emperor would have ridden on a chariot, a symbol of his power, but Jesus comes into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, a simple beast of burden that would have attracted little notice from society’s elite. This is a reminder of his humble birth in a stable. Even the place he comes from is unknown – it’s simply called “the village opposite,” another reminder that, while Jesus entered Jerusalem to the acclaim of the crowds, he was also rejected as someone from a place of no reputation – “can anything good come from Nazareth?”

Thus, Jesus shows what type of king he is – not one who uses power to meet out his wrath, who does what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. Unlike the kings of this age, he was humble and obedient, even to the extent of death on the cross. He comes as the true king who lays down his life for his bride, the Church.

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