Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 21:8-9,17-20,23-24; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66.
Today we read the gospel of the solemn entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the Passion of the Christ. As is his custom, Matthew tells us that the entry into Jerusalem “… took place to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet ….”quoting a text from the book of the prophet Zachariah (9:9). In his quote, Matthew leaves out the words: “… triumphant and victorious is he ….”
Matthew is preparing the reader for the humiliation that the Messiah will soon be subjected to, and exhorts the disciple not to be betrayed by this apparent triumphant welcome into Jerusalem; the Lord does not come in glory but in humility.
|Zechariah 9:9||Matthew 21:5|
|Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!||Tell the daughter of Zion,|
|Lo, your king comes to you;||Look, your king is coming to you,|
|triumphant and victorious is he,|
|humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.||humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.|
In the course of the Diocesan Process of the Cause of Beatification of the Servant of God, the Ecclesiastical Tribunal gathered and sent to Rome, for the next stage of the process, as many documents as possible, written to or by Joseph De Piro. The Tribunal also interviewed under oath one hundred and twenty-four witnesses who knew De Piro directly. They narrated stories about De Piro demonstrating his virtuous life. Forty-six of these witnesses spoke, at times in great detail, about De Piro’s humility:
- De Piro always obeyed the archbishop and did what he was asked to do;
- he was approachable by everyone, he spoke to and helped everyone;
- at a time when priests tended to be pompous during liturgical celebrations, De Piro preferred simplicity;
- although he was of noble descent, and a canon of the cathedral chapter, when no altar boy was available, he did not hesitate to step forward and assist another priest at Mass;
- he was humble; he never bothered about his status. When he was with the other priests, he did not boss over them;
- he never boasted his many achievements;
- he resided in the poor houses of his society, not in the wealthier De Piro residences;
- he was not presumptuous; he did not like to be treated any differently from anyone else. Seven of the witnesses mentioned that in the orphanages, De Piro ate from the same food as the boys and girls. Another seven witnesses said that whenever he was with the members of the society, he always shared the same food as members;
- girls and boys who lived in the orphanages while De Piro was director, testified that he never shouted at them. The employees at the orphanages agreed with this. The early members of the society also confirmed that he never shouted at them. Priests who had been in the seminary during the time of his rectorship, said that he was always very prudent when he requested them to do something. He was always gentle and kind at the orphanages, at the seminary and everywhere else. He always treated everyone with gentleness;
- two witnesses mentioned that his dress was very simple, and at times rather poor;
- he travelled by public transport;
- as a member of a noble family, he had no need to beg alms for a living. Yet he was frequently seen at the Marsa docks asking for provisions and for money to assist the children in the orphanages;
- some of the early members of his missionary society said that he often spoke to them about humility. He did the same with children in the orphanages under his care.