So, the Creator of the Universe has ridden into the Holy City on the foal of an ass to shouts of Hosanna – which is interpreted, praise and adoration to the one who saves. Right. But it’s fairly certain that, aside from some confused expectations about the “restoration” of Israel – largely of a vague political nature about throwing off the broad and deep state (Rome) occupying the Holy Land at the time – the people shouting and laying down their cloaks and palm branches didn’t much know what they were doing.
It’s a safe bet because after 2000 years of Christian prayer, evangelizing, preaching, martyrdoms, confessors, saints, sages, exorcists, theologians, philosophers, painters, sculptors, poets, novelists, composers, and polemicists, we don’t entirely understand either. Why did the Savior have to come into the world and do and suffer all that he’s about to do and suffer to accomplish the real restoration of Israel and the whole world? In a word, to make all things new? We know what he did. We don’t know precisely why it had to be the way we recall this week.
It’s all, to use the term in its technical theological sense, a mystery, which is to say a truth that we can contemplate because it’s been revealed to us. We may say, for instance, that only God Himself can atone for the offense to His infinite Goodness in Original Sin. But how he achieves that is not a question to which even the most brilliant human brain can work out an answer. It’s simply beyond us. And that’s a good thing because we have to come to see that only something, or rather Someone, beyond us could save us. We don’t save ourselves.