The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 570

“Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem manifests the coming of the kingdom that the Messiah-King, welcomed into his city by children and the humble of heart, is going to accomplish by the Passover of his Death and Resurrection.”

Obiter Dicta:  Sister Ann Astell, a professor in the Department of Theology at Notre Dame University, in an article entitled “Entering Jerusalem from the East” (2017), writes

“Jesus must have entered the city through its eastern gate, the Golden Gate. Clearly visible from the spot where we overlooked the city, the Golden Gate is sealed. Closed by the Muslims in A.D. 810, reopened by the crusaders, it was walled up again by Saladin in 1187 and by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1541. It has remained closed for over four centuries.  Why did Jesus enter through that particular gate on the day of his triumph, when people openly hailed him as Messiah and king? Saint Matthew writes that he rode into Jerusalem as its king aback a donkey and a colt in fulfillment of a prophecy (Zechariah 9:9). Another prophecy, Ezekiel’s mystical vision of the new temple, relates: “Then [the angel] brought me to the gate, the gate facing east. And there, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east” (Ezekiel 43:1). The prophet further observes, “The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city,” and writes later that he saw the eastern gate sealed shut: “This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it.”  Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions all associate the eastern gate with the approach of the Divine, with the coming of the Messiah. Following the Proto-Gospel of James (circa A.D. 150), Christian art frequently depicts the parents of the Virgin Mary meeting at the Golden Gate with a kiss and an embrace, heralding her Immaculate Conception. Destined to be the porta coeli, the “gate of heaven,” Mary is the one who will welcome the God-Man, the Incarnate Word of God, into the world. She is also a sealed gate, ever virgin, for the Lord has entered through her.  Significantly, the Golden Gate — the “gate called the Beautiful” (Acts 3:2) — is the site of one of the first post-Resurrection miracles worked by the apostles in the name of Jesus, the healing of a cripple who begged at that gate and whose “walking and leaping and praising God” (Acts 3:8) give expression to the Easter joy of the whole Church. The Lord who lives, who has arisen — he lives also in us. He teaches us, even now, what is necessary for peace.”

God does not just pop into our lives, invited and/or uninvited, from-time-to-time.  Rather, God is an ever present part of the fabric of our individual and communal lives.  Being a part of our human condition, it makes sense that God would utilize symbols and signs whose meaning would become clear to our minds and resonate within our hearts as needed by us.  As Jesus moves toward the Golden Gate those persons in attendance, both those persons physically present that special day and later those persons present in their imagination through reading of this event, come to a realization of the significance of Jesus entering this gate that God is active in the fabric of our lives.

As our minds and hearts soften and widen, we become aware of the multiple ways God is present in and working within our lives.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 569

“Jesus went up to Jerusalem voluntarily, knowing well that there he would die a violent death because of the opposition of sinners.”

Obiter Dicta:  Evil always attempts to destroy those who act lovingly because love undermines the power of evil, even the existence of evil.

At the time of Jesus and today, as well as any other time during the existence of human beings, the manifestation of love and the invitation to follow Jesus’ way of love threatened those who use fear to control people; to get people to succumb to the will of those who used fear.  Love erodes the fears people have, thus undermining the attempts of those in various positions of power to use fear to control others

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 568

“Christ’s Transfiguration aims at strengthening the apostles’ faith in anticipation of his Passion: the ascent on to the “high mountain” prepares for the ascent to Calvary. Christ, Head of the Church, manifests what his Body contains and radiates in the sacraments: “the hope of glory”.”

Obiter Dicta:  The disciples, and all the other witnesses of Jesus’ words and actions, become informed of “his Passion” and “the hope of glory” (the coming of the Kingdom of God, the resurrection of Jesus, our resurrections and glorifications in eternal bliss with God) by means of what Jesus communicates to them and us through the words spoken and the acts done by means of his human body.

The incarnation (the entry of the Word of God into human nature within the human condition) is God’s statement that God’s preferred way to communicate with us is through human speech and physical presence and bodily actions.  This divine communication to us by means of the exigency of the human body is the best way, and perhaps only way, God can communicate to us what we need to know about God and God’s ways so that we can be freed from the bondage/slavery of sin and attain eternal bliss with God

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 567

“The kingdom of heaven was inaugurated on earth by Christ. “This kingdom shone out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ”. the Church is the seed and beginning of this kingdom. Its keys are entrusted to Peter.”

Obiter Dicta:  The words of paragraph 567 of the Catechism state that, with Christ, the kingdom of heaven broke into and settled deeply within the human condition.  The essence of the human condition and of all creation changed with the incarnation, life, passion, death, and resurrection of the Word of God/Jesus the Christ.  The direction, both the control of the human condition and creation and the destination of the human condition and creation, changed due to the incarnation of the Word of God.  This new essence and new direction is that we are now able to be free of the bondage/slavery of sin/suffering so as to be able to accept the gift of eternal bliss with God

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 566

“The temptation in the desert shows Jesus, the humble Messiah, who triumphs over Satan by his total adherence to the plan of salvation willed by the Father.”

Obiter Dicta:  One of the temptations of Jesus in the desert involves Satan offering Jesus immense worldly power; in effect, the power to, if Jesus would so wish, to use worldly power to (attempt to) heal all human suffering.  Jesus responds, with his words and actions, by stating that he would rather trust in and cooperate with God’s plan in regard to addressing human needs.

Our human desires and attempts to do good for others can be altruistic and good and holy; if and only if they are aligned with God’s plans.  Often, our desires and attempts to do good are shrouded in a confusing array of motives which are detrimental to ourselves and to others.  All hoped for good efforts on our parts must begin with conscious contact with God to request the assistance of the Holy Spirit in helping us follow God’s plan in our attempts to follow the Way of Jesus, to do the next right thing in each given situation, to respond with love to the needs of others.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 565

“From the beginning of his public life, at his baptism, Jesus is the “Servant”, wholly consecrated to the redemptive work that he will accomplish by the “baptism” of his Passion.”

Obiter Dicta:  The broad, and accurate, meaning of baptism is to-undergo.  This word undergo functions as an illustrative play on words for that ritual of baptism in which one is immersed; in which one goes-under the water.

Many human experiences can be baptisms; experiential undergoings more powerful than oneself and which accomplishes in the person things not possible on his or her own.  The New Testament speaks of the ritual baptism, but also of a baptism by the Holy Spirit, the baptism of Jesus’ own passion and dying.  There are baptisms by fire; both literal and figurative among which are the baptisms of martyrdom and the baptisms of the stresses and strains and dangers of everyday life which one chooses to undergo for the good of others as well as oneself.

All such baptisms can be redemptive.  The effect of such baptisms to firmly center a person on the path to the divine gift of eternal bliss depends in part on the faith filled understanding of the person undergoing a specific type of baptism.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 564

“By his obedience to Mary and Joseph, as well as by his humble work during the long years in Nazareth, Jesus gives us the example of holiness in the daily life of family and work.”

Obiter Dicta:  We think, correctly, of Jesus’ primary work being announcing the need for repentance, announcing and actualizing the Kingdom of God, and guiding us to eternal bliss with God.  This task, assigned to and accepted by Jesus, was his holiness.  However, before he begins his adult ministry, his assigned role is as a member within the Holy Family performing those tasks suited to and common for a growing child and adolescent and young adult maturing within a family environment.  His holiness at this stage was being an involved member of this family in ways appropriate to each of his developmental stages.


The New Testament tells us that Jesus grew in wisdom and obedience.  These scriptures tell us that he was not able to do all things; specifically, that his followers in the Church would “make up for what was lacking” in Jesus’ own ministry.  All of these ideas indicate that Jesus, being fully human, shared in the limitations common to human nature.  This assumption of these limitations was part of his holiness.

Our redeemed joy does not come from doing all things well and thus, in our minds, earning God’s gifts.  Rather, our redeemed joy is that we accept the reality of our human nature, with its limitations, while at the same time choosing to follow the way of Jesus…and choosing to follow the way of Jesus…and again, choosing to follow the way of Jesus…and…

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 563

“No one, whether shepherd or wise man, can approach God here below except by kneeling before the manger at Bethlehem and adoring him hidden in the weakness of a new-born child.”

Obiter Dicta:  The phrase “preferential option for the poor” appeared in a letter issued by South American bishops at a meeting of bishops in Medellin, Colombia.  This phrase is often taken to mean and to refer to the choice to be aware of the needs of the poor and to meet the needs of the poor in the expanded sense of providing them a first right of selection at the table of the goods the earth and of its.  Here, the word “preferential” refers to assisting the poor and needy in attaining a better material state.

Paragraph 563 of the Catechism expands upon the notion of the preferential option of the poor.  We who have sufficient material goods must be aware of the poor and needy, aware of their needs, and meet their needs as a sign of being on the path to eternal bliss with God.  Here, the word “preferential” refers to a state of being we, who are wealthy, need.  If we are aware of needs of the poor and needy and if we care for their needs, we descriptively exist within that framework in which we are already experiencing the Kingdom of God, temporally within the human condition and in eternal bliss

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 562

“Christ’s disciples are to conform themselves to him until he is formed in them. “For this reason we, who have been made like to him, who have died with him and risen with him, are taken up into the mysteries of his life, until we reign together with him””

Obiter Dicta:  Conforming ourselves to Jesus the Christ probably includes the following; we become aware of God co-creating with us the fabric of our lives moment by moment, of God loving us, of God gifting us now with eternal life. This awareness leads us to accept ourselves as we are because God accepts and works with us just as we are from the ever present now onwards.  As we become more aware and accepting of becoming the likeness of Jesus the Christ, we are empowered to follow his Way of love

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: 561

“”The whole of Christ’s life was a continual teaching: his silences, his miracles, his gestures, his prayer, his love for people, his special affection for the little and the poor, his acceptance of the total sacrifice on the Cross for the redemption of the world, and his Resurrection are the actualization of his word and the fulfilment of Revelation””

Obiter Dicta:  It is valuable to remember that we obtain/receive/get Jesus’ communications to us mediated through other person’s perceptions of him; through the writers of the book of the New Testament for example.  And also it is valuable that sometimes we receive comments from Jesus which are “removed” multiple times from us; a writer is telling of what another person heard Jesus say or experienced what Jesus did.  These tellings are always necessarily mediated to us through the filters of the speakers/writers perceptions and attitudes and values and life experiences.

Paragraph 561 of the Catechism speaks of the communications of Jesus which took the form of his silences.  Phenomenology, a branch of philosophy which attempts to discern the essence of some thing/event from the various ways that thing/event appears and is manifested to us while attempting to dissociate from our awareness the interpretive categories we tend to load onto what we discern, pays special attention not only to the actual things Jesus said and did but to the absences and silences as well.  For example, the words found in the New Testament that state that the gospels fail to include many other things Jesus said and did, has a powerful impact upon our imagination and understanding.  Another example is how something he said or did has little impact on one generation of followers but then has a deeper impact upon a future generation when the context of their lives makes what Jesus said and did especially meaningful.  And then, as well, there are specific incidents found in the New Testament which contain a type of silence/absence which impacts us; Jesus refusal to respond to Pilate or Jesus going off to be alone.  Finally, there is the realization we have of the reality that in every statement of what Jesus said and did, the human author necessarily leaves some aspects of the event unsaid or unnoticed; sometimes unintentionally and sometimes, perhaps, intentionally.