Psalm 1, 2, 3,
2 Peter 1: 1 – 11
Matthew 21: 1 –11
It strikes me as odd that Matthew 21:1-11, which highlights the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, would be read during Advent. It is a passage of scripture normally read on Palm Sunday. So is it as out of place as it would seem to be? Perhaps not. The reading is in keeping with the meaning of Advent which, from the Latin, means “coming”, and preparation for the coming of Jesus is what this season of Advent is ultimately about.
It is important to note that this was the last time Jesus rode into Jerusalem before he was crucified. And although Advent and Christmas point to the joy and promises of the incarnation, this reading is a reminder that there is much more to come after Christmas and Epiphany. In short order, the solemnity of Lent and Holy Week will be upon us before we once again can experience joy in the Easter resurrection.
The reading is also a subtle reminder that a second coming of Jesus is predicted in scripture. Every time we recite the Apostle or Nicene Creeds, we acknowledge this coming again of Jesus in judgement. So perhaps the inclusion of this Matthew reading was not without purpose. It should beg the question of what we are doing to get ready to celebrate this first coming. This season is not simply a lead up to the presentation of a cute baby and the giving of presents. And, finally, how should we be preparing for the predicted second coming? And what could it mean for us and the Church in our broken world?