Devotional thoughts for Palm Sunday 2nd April 07.
Reading: From the Gospel according to St. John 12: 12-20
Dear and Respected Brethren,
It is a truth that the deepness of meaning and the circumstances of
today's reading are by heart to one and all of the faithful. Holy
scripture tells us that many foreign and local rushed in great
thrill and enthusiasm, when they heard that the Savior of the entire
mankind and the whole world would be attending the feast in
Jerusalem Temple. At the same time our Lord was on the peak of the
mount Olive, which is in the opposite side of the temple. (From the
top of mount olive one could have a clear picture of the entire
Jerusalem) We could imagine how great and staunch was the faith and
cheer of the faithful who reached our Lord's presence, covering the
long distance as well as the steep way from the base of mount to the
top. They welcomed our Lord by holding tender branches of olives as
well as palm leaves and uttering "Hosanna, Blessed is the king of
Israel who comes in the name of the Lord". We could see so many
people using the term Hosanna in a misunderstanding to flatter
others in Malayalam. There is a phrase "sing Hosanna to him/her".
The literal meaning of the term Hosanna is "save us". The people who
cried "Hosanna" in front of our Lord was so sure that the person
whom they welcomed was their savior. They got the courage and
willingness to cry "Blessed is the king of Israel, who comes in the
name of the Lord". We must note that our Lord had never addressed
himself as the Son of God, but he had addressed himself as son of
man. The people who shouted and cried "Hosanna" had a revelation
from God Almighty that our Lord was their Savior and Son of God.
Our Lord accepted an Ass for the travel, which is often referred as
the triumphant entry of our Lord. There is a prominent saying that
our Lord had accepted the Ass to show the simplicity and humbleness.
Though it is also a truth, there is another much more important
reason behind it. It was a clear declaration that our Lord is the
ideal and true shepherd, who came in search of the lost sheep. An
Ass will be the true companion and help of a shepherd. There is no
doubt that the Ass will go ahead through the forests or through the
paths filled with thorns and stones. One who has visited Jerusalem
must be aware of the so called Palm Sunday road starting from the
peak of Mount Olive and reaching the base through the steep and
narrow road. In this modern era too the road is almost the same. We
read in Zechariah 9:9 about the Ass, which happened to be the
carrier of our Lord.
We could see more information about the triumphant entry of our Lord
in St. Luke chapter 19. We could realize that the verses uttered by
the people were the repetitions of Psalms 72: 17-19. St. Luke writes
that the Pharisees had requested our Lord to stop disciples of our
Lord from saying "Hosanna, Blessed is the king of Israel, who comes
in the name of the Lord". Our Lord retorted, "if they do not say so,
these stones will shout".
The graveyards of the Jews, Christians and the Muslims are the side
of the Palm Sunday road. Each Jewish visitor will keep a stone on
the tomb, which they might visit. They continue the same practice
till now. Our Lord might have referred these stones or about the
dead who have been mixed with the sand. What ever it might be, no
one could stop the shouting of the masses.
We conduct the processions around our Churches on the Palm Sunday in
accordance with the great march followed by our Lord. We also sing
Hosanna and submit flowers. How many of us could recite "hosanna' in
the real meaning. How many of us could feel that we are praying '
save us our Lord'? We must be able to recite the term in the real
meaning. If so our prayers, lent and fasting will be meaningful and
acceptable to our Lord God. As the disciples uttered Hosanna in
great thrill let us also utter, remembering the vast blessings and
mercies we enjoyed from our Lord God. We must give proper awareness
to the growing generations. Long time ago, the Palm Sunday was the
thrill of children and youngsters. When we would hold the palm
leaves, let us have the purity and simplicity of those leaves in our
May God bless us all.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril.