We are entering Holy Week, filled with liturgies that can move us to tears. Luke’s telling of the Triumphal Entry provides a sort of counterpoint: in the middle of the Entry Luke narrates Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!” We weep for Jesus; Jesus weeps for us.
Peace is implicit in the staging of the Entry, which takes Zechariah 9:9-10 as its script: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war-horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations…” But Jesus weeps for Jerusalem: the process will be more complicated, bloodier, than this text might suggest.
Of course it will be. Jerusalem was no more willing to open its gates to Jesus than Washington was to Martin Luther King Jr., whose feast we celebrated yesterday.
Peace. Later in the week the crowd will choose Barabbas, leader of an insurrection, over Jesus, further sealing the trajectory that will end in Jerusalem’s destruction a few decades later. “If you had only recognized the things that make for peace!”
April 2020. What are the things that make for peace?