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Sermon on Entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem or ТPalmУ Sunday

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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    Protopriest Leonid Kolchev Sermon on Entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem or ôPalmõ Sunday The Gospel reading from John, pericope 41 (12:1-18)
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2004
      Protopriest Leonid Kolchev

      Sermon on Entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem or ТPalmУ Sunday

      The Gospel reading from John, pericope 41 (12:1-18)
      (in Russian)

      Today the Orthodox Church prayerfully marks an event from the earthly life
      of Jesus Christ that occurred six days before the Jewish Passover.

      Christ?s disciples, fulfilling the will of their Teacher, brought a young
      donkey upon whom no one had yet sat, covered it with raiments, seated Jesus
      Christ upon it, and a ceremonious yet humble procession commenced from the
      small town of Bethany into Jerusalem. The crowd gathered in great numbers
      for the Passover, and, hearing that their beloved Teacher was coming, He
      Who was renowned for many wondrous signs and miracles, they flocked to see
      Him. Apparently expecting this to be the beginning of the expected Kingdom
      of Israel, overcome by joy, they took off their garments and laid them down
      along His path, while others, in the Oriental custom of welcoming
      victorious warriors with palm fronds in their hands, cried ТHosanna,У that
      is, Тgrant salvation,У ТTo the Son of David, blessed is He who comes in the
      name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest, even the King of Israel!У

      Against the background of this joyful crowd, dressed in bright Eastern
      clothing and flooded with sunlight from the bright, cloudless sky, the
      concentrated, sad visage of Christ stood out: Within this ocean of people
      He saw the scribes and Pharisees, who sputtered with hateful resentment. He
      knew that these elated shouts of ТHosannaУ would soon turn to the crazed
      shrieks of ТCrucify Him! We have no king but Caesar!У He foresaw that this
      city of sin, in full view now from the Mount of Olives, would soon be
      destroyed, so that not one stone would lie upon another. He saw that many
      would not take benefit from His meritorious struggles, and, as though
      crucifying Him once again, would turn away from His love and would perish.
      Christ even weptЙ

      Taking our example from the Jews, we now also stand at vigil in prayerful
      greeting of the Lord, with pussy willows and candles in our hands. Profound
      meaning lies underneath this tradition.

      Just as after a long winter slumber, nature awakens with the advent of
      spring, with the first harbinger of this being the pussy willow, in the
      same way do we, after death, sooner or later awaken again. The righteous
      will be resurrected for eternal blessed life, where they will shine like
      the sun in the kingdom of the Heavenly Father, which is represented by the
      candle flames in our handsЙ while the sinnersЙ the sinners?But let us not
      talk of them, so as not to darken this solemn celebration. The pussy willow
      which we held yesterday breathed the air of fresh life, and, had it
      remained on the tree, would have been covered with leaves and adorned with
      flowers, but cut off?it slowly begins to dry out. This reminds us of
      Christ?s words: ТI am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me
      and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothingУ
      (John 15:1, 5-6). So let each one of us adorn ourselves with the leaves of
      good thoughts and with the flowers of faith and piety.

      And so, brethren, looking upon the blessed pussy willow, which we usually
      keep in a place of honor along with our holy icons, let us remember the
      resurrection that awaits us. Gazing upon the pussy willow, let us learn to
      nourish ourselves with the flourishing tree, that is, with the Church of
      Christ. Looking upon the pussy willow, let us not take as an example those
      who saddened the Lord and perished Тin the dark halls of death.У Looking
      upon the pussy willow, let us joyfully sing to our Christ God: ТWe cry out
      to You, the victor over death, Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who
      comes in the name of the Lord.У Amen.
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