I wish to draw our attention to the Gospel we use for the procession on Sunday, before we read the Passion. In Matthew 21:2, Jesus instructs his disciples to bring two beasts of burden for him to ride: an ass and a colt. The ass is only mentioned in St. Matthew’s account of the entry into Jerusalem. The other Gospels only mention the colt. St. Thomas Aquinas suggested that St. Matthew used these two animals as an analogy for the Jews and the Gentiles. The Jewish people, burdened with the Law and bound by “chains of darkness” (Wis. 17:2) and despised because of their repeated rejection of God’s Law, are represented by the ass. They must be untied and brought to Christ if they are to carry Him to the world. Likewise, the Gentiles are portrayed by the colt, young and wild but also needing to be unbound from sin and brought to Jesus.
This is the glory of our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem. Jesus is the King of Kings, entering his holy city. He will be enthroned upon the Cross, and when He is lifted up He will draw all people to Himself (cf. John 12:32). Both Jews and Gentiles will have the glory of bearing Jesus as Christians. For Saint Matthew, this is the core of the Gospel. The Jews are the privileged first members of the Church, but they are to welcome the Gentiles as brothers and sisters in the promise. The Son of David is King of the Universe, not just Judea. The Gentiles are coheirs of the Kingdom. Hosanna is the Hebrew expression of joyful praise to God, but we are all invited to sing it together. No one group of people has exclusive claim to Jesus; He is Lord and Savior of all.