Kings and Cloaks
We hear in today’s procession Gospel of Jesus’ glorious and exuberant entrance into Jerusalem. The Jews knew that the Messiah would go to Jerusalem, the center of Jewish life, to establish and claim His reign and free them from Roman occupation and oppression. As He enters the city, it appears that a multitude of people begin to praise God with shouts of joy proclaiming Jesus as their king. But their shouting isn’t enough to truly express their emotions, so we’re told that they begin to lay down their cloaks along Jesus’ path.
In Jesus’ days, cloaks were a very important item. They provided shelter and protection from the elements and provided warmth during the night. Many parts of Scripture speak of the important roles that cloaks served in biblical times. When the people laid them down on the road, they knew that they would be trampled upon, soiled, and possibly ruined, but this didn’t stop them from doing it despite its importance and value.
While their outer voices were shouting praises recognizing Jesus as their king, their inner voices reminded them that their words alone lacked sufficient meaning unless they were backed up and supported by some outward act. That act had to show that they had “skin in the game”. It was like putting money on the table to show one’s sincerity and level of commitment to an agreement. By placing their cloaks on the road before Jesus, they gave Him honor and demonstrated that they truly believed in Him. It outwardly showed that they welcomed Him as their king, and it was the right thing to do to show that they really meant it. It was the best act they could perform to back up their voices to prove their support.
As we wave our palm branches at Mass today to welcome Jesus as our King with shouts of praise, we too, must decide what we’re willing to do to show that He truly is our King? We all have “cloaks” that we tightly cling to and tend to value greater than Jesus, things that we don’t want to let go of. Everything we have isn’t really ours, they are gifts from God. What are we willing to do to prove that Jesus indeed is the King of our hearts?
May Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem lead you to a blessed and faith-filled Holy Week.