My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIS IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE GLORIOUS FEAST OF THE ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM
OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
On this day, Palm Sunday, we celebrate the Radiant and Glorious Feast
of the Entry into Jerusalem of Our Lord, God, and Savior JESUS CHRIST.
The Logos/Word, having sat upon a foal, extendeth the celestial sphere
Mortals seek to be loosed of irrationality.
After the raising from the dead of Lazarus, many came to believe in The Christ. This moved the Synagogue of the Jews to take council and issue A DECISION TO PUT TO DEATH NOT ONLY CHRIST BUT LAZARUS AS WELL. Giving place to their moral badness Jesus withdrew. Meanwhile, the Jews plotted to slay Him DURING THE FEAST OF PASSOVER. The Evangelist John makes the point that "Jesus, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany" (John 12:1). Visiting the house of Lazarus, there was a supper. Mary, Lazarus’ sister, poured ointment on Christ’s feet. We read afterward, in the Gospel of Matthew, when Jesus and His Disciples drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage toward the Mount of Olives, that He sent forth two Disciples. He said to them, "Go into the village, the one opposite you; and straightway ye shall find an ass which hath been tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to me" (Matthew 21:2). The Disciples did as they were commanded. Evangelist John then notes that after the crowd heard that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem, the people TOOK PALM BRANCHES, and went out to meet Him. They were crying, "HOSANNA, BLESSED IS HE WHO COMETH IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, THE KING OF ISRAEL" (John 12:13). Matthew adds that "all the city was shaken, saying, "Who is this?" (Matthew 21:10). The crowds were saying, "This is Jesus the Prophet, the One from Nazareth of Galilee" (Matthew 21:11). The Holy Spirit moved the children to say, "Hosanna, to the Son of David; Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest" (Matthew 21:9).
By using PALMS (in Hebrew, the tender branch is called VAIYA, A PALM BRANCH), they were signifying Christ’s COMING VICTORY OVER DEATH. It was the custom to honor THE VICTORS of some contest or a war with triumphant processions with the attendees bearing trees that are ever green. The Prophet Zacharias foretold this event clearly, prophesying: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion; proclaim it aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem; BEHOLD, THE KING IS COMING TO THEE, JUST, AND A SAVIOR; HE IS MEEK AND RIDING ON AN ASS, AND A YOUNG FOAL" (Zechariah 9:9). The Prophet David also FORETOLD THE CONDUCT OF THE CHILDREN: "OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES AND THOSE SUCKLING DIDST THOU PERFECT FOR THYSELF PRAISE" (Psalm 8:2).
With THE ENTRY OF CHRIST INTO JERUSALEM, the entire populace was stirred. The high priests, thereupon, BEGAN PREPARING TO INCITE THE CROWDS TO KILL Him. Jesus, nevertheless, was at times hidden from them and at other times appeared among them speaking to the people by means of Parables.
"By Thine ineffable compassion, O Christ Our God,
make us victors over the irrational passions, and count
us worthy to behold Thy manifest victory over death and
Thy brilliant and Life-bearing Resurrection, and have
mercy on us. Amen."
Saint Gregory Palamas wrote: "Before His saving Passion when the Lord entered the earthly Jerusalem, not just the people but also the true rulers of the nations, the Lord’s Apostles, spread their garments in His way. In the same manner, let us all, rulers as well as subjects, lay down our natural garments before Him, by making our flesh and is impulses subject to the spirit, that we may be made worthy not only to see and worship Christ’s saving Passion and Holy Resurrection but to enjoy COMMUNION WITH HIM. "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, certainly also we shall be of the Resurrection" (Romans 6:5).
Saint Bede states: "Our Lord did not wish to get on an uncovered ass, nor did He wish to get on an uncovered foal, because whether Jew or Gentile, unless one be adorned with the sayings and deeds of the Saints, he cannot have our Lord as His guide, but instead sin reigns in his mortal body to make him obey its impulses of concupiscence."
Saint Ambrose writes: "I should indeed be uncertain of the significance of the broken branches, which were surely wont to entangle the feet of walkers if that good Husbandman had not taught, ‘And even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees’ (Luke 3:9). The ax, at the coming of the Lord, cuts away the barren. It lays low the VAINGLORY of the infertile Gentiles, which is to be trampled by the feet of the faithful, so that the nations n newness of mind, like shoots of new trees, may sprout from the old stumps."
Saint Kyril of Alexandria remarks, "The multitudes, being more obedient and yielding to the effect of the sign, went to meet the Christ, hymning Him as One Who had conquered death, and carrying palm branches. And they do not praise Him with ordinary language, but quote from the inspired Scripture that which was beautifully spoken with regard to Him, confessing that H was indeed King of Israel, Whom also they called specially their own King, accepting the lordship of the Christ. And the Son, they say, is ‘BLESSED’: NOT because He Who blesses all things and guards them from destruction, and Who IS OF THE INEFFABLE ESSENCE OF THE FATHER, receives the blessing which comes from the Father; but as trusted servants; this One, on the contrary, comes as Lord. Therefore, the prophetic language was quoted very suitably with regard to Him. For indeed some are called lords, who are not such by nature but have the honorable name granted to them by favor. As also, to take another case, men are called ‘true.’ when they abstain from falsehood: but this is not the thing to say with regard to Christ; for He is not called ‘Truth’ for the reason that He does not speak falsely, but because He has that nature which is altogether superior to falsehood."
Saint Gregory Palamas says, "The simple people believed Him in every respect, and did not keep their faith quiet, but began to preach His Divinity by deeds and words… So the King Who raised Lazarus from the dead entered Jerusalem sitting upon an ass. Everyone, children, men, women, old people, immediately spread their garments in the way. They took palm branches, which are SYMBOLS OF VICTORY, and went to meet Him as the Life-Giver and Victor over death. They fell at His feet and escorted Him in procession, singing together, not just outside but also inside the precincts of the Temple, ‘Hosanna, to the Son of David, blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord, hosanna in the highest’ (Matthew 21:9). HOSANNA IS A SONG OF PRAISE DIRECTED TO GOD, WHICH MEANS, ‘SAVE US.’ The additional words ‘in the highest’ show that He is not only praised on earth, nor only by men, but also by THE HEAVENLY ANGELS ON HIGH. The people not only sang His praises and called Him God, but they subsequently OPPOSED THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES’ EVIL PURPOSE AGAINST GOD AND THEIR MURDEROUS ALLEGATIONS…BY SAYING, ‘BLESSED IS HE THAT COMETH IN THE NAME OF THE LORD,’ THEY SHOWED THAT HE WAS FROM GOD THE FATHER AND THAT HE CAME IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER." [Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church]
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George