38. Palms Sunday

Here I was in Jerusalem having been booted from both heaven and the Patriarchate. The only instruction I was given was to ask Saint Mary of Egypt to lead me into the cocoon of repentance. So I did.

"Blessed Mary, if it is possible, please show me today what took you decades to learn, and without all the suffering, how to become faithful to Him, by forsaking the ways of those mischievous demons who continually lure me onto their webs. I want to be an angel of God, I really and truly do.

I am afraid, dear Mary, of being a deluded angel, of thinking that I am translucent, when in fact my rebellious attitude muddies me up. Can it be that I am not the angel I think I am? I have been banished from heaven and I fear I will never be able to return. Please I beg of you, please guide me. Mary, pray for me. Woes is me if I am consigned to this Hades of Earth forever!" Did she hear me?

Weeping, I wandered aimlessly through the stone streets of Jerusalem, flying in and out of doorways and alleyways. I flew out of Jaffa Gate and headed towards the Mount of Olives when I saw a large raucous crowd in the distance, so I went up to see what the commotion was all about.

Easily passing over layers of men, women, and children, a fantastic sight appeared before my angel eyes! There was Jesus sitting on a colt. All of the people along the road were shouting in a cacophony of 'Hosannas' and 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of The Lord!' and 'Hosanna to the Son of David!' And 'Hosanna in the highest heavens!'

Men spread their coats on the street, and children gathered branches from palms trees and laid them over the coats to create a cushion for the colt to walk on. The scene reminded me of a wedding procession where the bride follows flower girls strewing rose petals on her path to adorn the ground she walks on. Was Jesus pretending to be a royal bridegroom?

What in the world is going on here? I thought. Is this real? They are treating Jesus like a king, but He is riding on a little colt instead of a regal horse. The parade was heading to Jerusalem. For miles and miles it was the same scene. Old women and young men running out of their houses and up to the road to join the crowds. Young women and boys jogging alongside Jesus. Miles and miles of palms and coats blanketed the dusty road. With His holy head held high Jesus soaked in the glory.

I even saw gaggles of angels overhead alternately chanting Hosanna and Alleluia in perfect harmony. I cringed to be reminded not to join them. Instead I hovered behind Jesus wondering how it would end. As we approached the Golden Gate, I flew in front of Him so Jesus could see me.

Waving at the crowds, He noticed me and smiled with recognition. I gazed at Him in unbelief and said in angel-speak, "What is going on here?" He replied telepathically, "I'll explain it to you later." and kept on riding. By the time we reached the city, it too was in turmoil. People were asking each other, "Who is this?"

Every few hundred feet someone would shout above the din, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee. Remember, the man who has been performing miracles. Come, let's follow Him and see what He does next."

When Jesus and His colt had arrived at the temple, He dismounted, and with the authority of the master of the house, He surveyed the temple flea market. Jesus had known about the flea market and always despised it, but today He decided it was time to provoke and to purify. I could see the anger welling up in His soul until He looked like He was about to explode. What was He going to do?

I could hardly believe what happened next.

With royal confidence and authority, Jesus actually turned over table after table and yelled at the merchants! I had never seen Him so angry, not even at me. He hollered, "My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you make it a den of robbers!" Doves flew out of their fallen cages and shekels were strewn all over the ground so that from one merchant to the other, no one knew whose money was theirs. Boys ran up to scavenge the change and merchants didn't know whether to yell back at Jesus or fight for their fallen money. Some merchants fought and others scrounged adding to the frenzy in the temple.

Meanwhile, the crowd of men, women and children that had followed Jesus all the way from Bethphage were still near and shouted, "Hooray and Hosannas." Such holy chaos had never been seen on Jerusalem, not since the Romans took over anyway.

After His tirade with the merchants, Jesus regained His composure, and walked over to the east corner of the temple. And then the most unusual thing happened, the merchants retreated to their homes, the loyal crowds dispersed, and the hosannas were hushed.

All that remained were the blind and the lame. One by one a blind child, an old woman with a cane, a man being carried, approached Jesus. And one by one He healed him or her so that all walked out of the temple on that day whole and healthy, some for the very first time. Mothers wept with joy; the necks of the newly sighted turned back and forth, back and forth blessed with vision for the first time in their lives. 'Is this what a face looks like, and a column, and a dove flying high in the temple?'

Shouts of exaltation softened into hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God.

Young boys, anxious to participate in the celebrations of healing gathered around behind Him and softly sang rounds of Hosannas to the son of David in choral harmony while Jesus continued to heal man, woman and child who approached Him with hope and faith.

After a short while, priests and scribes in groups of two and three strutted up to Jesus, as if infected by His former rage. The chief priest roared, "Do you hear what these children are chanting? Tell them to stop!"

Jesus replied, "I hear what they are saying. Have you never read (challenging their scholarship) 'out of the mouths of infants and nursing babes You have prepared praise for Yourself."

The chief priest looked around at his colleagues and shouted, "Did that vagabond just tell us that he accepts the praises due to God alone?" They were all appalled, looking back and forth at each other for affirmation. They were more than appalled, they were incensed. Who does this man think he is, who evicted their commercial tenants, and accepts praises in their temple! Does He think he is God or something?!"

Frankly, I was frightened for Him. Witnessing this day, I had left my own problems behind. I didn't have time to consider my ego or my voice or even how to get home. I realized that I had only one thing to do and that was to stay as close to Jesus as I could, and to guard Him as best as I could because this young man seemed bent on getting Himself into big trouble.