As our Lenten 40 days draws to a close we encounter Christ entering Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, along a path covered in palm branches and greenery. It’s a visual of royalty and honour, echoing grand entrances of conquerors of cities and nations. Similar entries much more lavish would have been witnessed in Rome of conquering generals and emperors drawn by majestic horses on chariots and along streets strewn with flowers coming home to a hero’s welcome. Christ enters Jerusalem as a hero, as a conqueror of sin and death, but his victory is yet unknown, His battle soon to be won in His Passion. His suffering still in the future from this moment in His ministry.
Christ’s ministry has been full of miracles, conversion, and not devoid scandal and detractors. Yet to those who encountered Him, and had their hearts moved by Him carry with them His commandments of love. Love God above all else, and neighbour as oneself. This is His victory cry, this is the banner by which His disciples march.
At the end of His Passion, as He slipped into the waiting arms of the father, dying on the Cross, it was in love that He looked at those that had put Him there, and in that love, showed us the way we must live, because as St. John of the Cross puts it, “At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love".