Father God and the Humble King (The Palm Sunday of the Faithful)

Father God and the Humble King (The Palm Sunday of the Faithful) April 25, 2021

Celebrate a good Father who always rejoices in his children. Today recollect how history should have been if all our choices had been good and all of the “is” of history had been as our choices “ought” to have been. If every mother had been Mary and every father Joseph what would the cosmos be like?

Palm Sunday is a moment in time when the “oughts” of history that the pious heart longs to see for one day became an “is.” Ideals became fact on Palm Sunday. Everything was the way everything should be. The children of God could celebrate the rule of the humble King, given authority by the cosmic Patriarch, bringing justice to His Chosen People and to all peoples. Sermons of the wise point out how brief this moment of perfect harmony between Father God and His creation was: we would soon crucify our King and reject our Patriarch. We would embrace racism, misogyny, scientism, and hosts of evils. Any misdeed, any failure of justice, is a grotesquerie and we live in a museum of such faults.

We fall short of the glory of utter Love, the example of the Theotokos. Pray for us this Palm Sunday, Holy Mother.

God, being utter Love, allows our rejection, our lack of consent to even this best gift. If we do not like the results, then we have nobody to blame but ourselves. We could, after all even now, if still reading this, choose differently. We could choose Sophia, the Wisdom of the Mother of God.

The people of Jerusalem did better on the first Palm Sunday than we are likely to do.

First, they knew that God worked through a people, a nation. They were chosen and this was a complicated relationship! They were not stupid enough to think that the locality, Jerusalem, did not count to their experience and so to God. These were a people at the end of a long conversation recognizing that everything was changing. A man had come in the name of the Lord and they were joyful, crying out for salvation.

They experienced greatness without understanding the full magnitude of the event. That is the way of people: we live more than we know. Jesus was King: Caesar notwithstanding. Jesus was humble, a suffering servant: Zealots notwithstanding. Jesus was Jewish, a patriot of His people. Jesus was the God-man: king of all nations. Jesus Christ brought the particular and the universal together in His own person.

Happy, blessed, is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! There is no room in the Kingdom of Heaven for the slightest whiff of equality or democracy: these are compromises we must make in human society, because the rule of God is not yet fully manifest. Until King Jesus returns no person can be trusted with absolute power.

Instead, on Palm Sunday, we get an image of perfect justice. In God’s court all the stories are known, the tales told, the possibilities explored and we are weighed in the balance. If we are found wanting, the Good God has mercy if we wish mercy.

God the Father, almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible, gave honor to His only Son, our Lord, on Palm Sunday. The Patriarch gave His Son authority to pronounce mercy, even in Hades. 

We had justice on Palm Sunday, not some reasonable facsimile. We saw a King enter the center of the Earth, Jerusalem, who could not be bought. He would lift up each person to their fitting place. King Jesus knew all and so could have mercy fittingly and damn appropriately. The King saw all the ends, how all our strategies would play out, and so could pronounce a righteous judgment. He was, is, and will be the only one who can tell when the ends justify the means. He is the God-man.

We fall into the arms of the divine Father. We are kept by the prayers of the Mother of God in safety for all time. Hosanna! Blessed this day and every day is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! 


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