“And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:1-11
If you read the entire passage assigned for today, you will see that the daily lectionary includes the account of Jesus’ Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem. It may seem odd, to some, to read about our Lord’s ride into the Holy City on a donkey as we are in the midst of our preparations for Christmas. And yet, “Advent” is the Anglicized version of the Latin word, adventus, which means “coming.” During this season of Advent, we dare not think only of our Lord’s coming at Bethlehem. The assigned lessons in the daily lectionary, as well as the Sunday readings, are all aimed at challenging us to ponder the several ways our Lord comes.
Our lesson today brings to mind our Lord coming to Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week, but the words above remind us also of the fact that He comes to us in the Lord’s Supper each and every time the community gathers to receive Him in Word and Sacrament. Do you remember when we sing these words in the Sunday liturgy? They are sung immediately before the Prayer of Thanksgiving/Words of Institution, when our Lord makes himself present in the bread and wine that become His body and blood, broken and poured out for us. We sing, “Holy, holy, holy…Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!”
At this moment, we are surely preparing ourselves for the coming of our Lord in the sacramental meal. We say the same words the crowds said as Jesus entered the Holy City, Jerusalem. We prepare ourselves to receive Him as He comes to us. At the same time, however, the church also sees this as a prayer that we may come in the name of the Lord and so be blessed, as well! Let us be mindful as we sing these words which connect our Advent preparation with our Lord’s coming to Jerusalem and His passion and death for us and for our salvation.
Lord, prepare us for your coming this Christmas, but also as you come to us each week in Word and Sacrament. In your name we pray. Amen.