Monday, April 18, 2011

On Faith and Palm Sunday

Last Friday I attended a recollection which was delivered by a priest. In the course of his talk about the essence of Faith, he related this story - in my own words as I recall it.
Once there was a fire at this village. One house was engulfed in flames and an 8 year-old boy was trapped inside. The boy climbed up to the roof to escape the flames. Once up on the roof, he could hear the voice of his father shouting: JUMP! Jump son and I am here down below to catch you! The boy circled the edges of the roof trying to find out the exact spot where his father was, but all he could see was smoke and flames all around him. The boy ran and ran all around the roof but couldn't see his father, who all the while was shouting: Jump! Jump! Meanwhile the flames are about to topple the entire house at any time, with the boy on the roof with it. The boy hesitated. Little did the boy know that even though he can not see what was down below, he can jump at any time. The father - who can see his son on the roof anywhere from the street - was following his movements and was there to catch him anytime he jumped. The boy doesn't have to see his father. The important thing to do was to jump.
In his recent book Jesus of Nazareth II, Pope Benedict XVI begins by reflecting on Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Here are some excerpts that provide points for pondering on the occasion of the blessed commemoration of Palm Sunday.

...So Jesus rides on a borrowed donkey into the city. [...] Jesus claims the right of kings, known throughout antiquity, to requisition modes of transport. The use of an animal on which no one has yet sat is a further pointer to the right of kings. Most strikingly though, are the Old Testament allusions that give a deeper meaning to the whole episode. [...] He is a king who destroys all the weapons of war, a king of peace and a king of simplicity, a king of the poor. [...] None of these can be seen at the time, but in retrospect those things that could be indicated only from afar, hidden in the prophetic vision, are revealed.[...] His claim is based on obedience to the mission received from his Father.His path is a path into the heart of God's word.[...] His power is of another kind: it is in God's poverty, God's peace, that he identifies the only power that can redeem.

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