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Homily for 4/12/09 - Entry - the Lord is at hand

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  • Fr David Moser
    Phil 4:4-9 Palm Sunday is the harbinger of Pascha – the celebration that leads into Holy Week. Before we enter into the intense, but short, struggle of Holy
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 12, 2009
      Phil 4:4-9

      Palm Sunday is the harbinger of Pascha – the celebration that leads into
      Holy Week. Before we enter into the intense, but short, struggle of Holy
      Week we are reminded again of the deity of Christ, of His power and
      triumph. We do, in fact, call this feast the “Triumphal Entry” into
      Jerusalem. Just as Peter and James and John were given a glimpse of
      Jesus as God in the Transfiguration, here we are given glimpse of Jesus
      not as an itinerant preacher but rather as the King of Creation Who has
      come to His people. The Triumphal Entry is an icon of the Second Coming
      when Christ will come again in glory to judge the earth. The news of His
      coming began with those closest to Him, the Apostles, who spread their
      cloaks on the ground as a kind of “red carpet”. As more and more people
      of the city heard of His coming they too set aside their work, came out
      of the city and ran to meet the Lord, laying down their own cloaks and
      when that was exhausted, branches of palms all the while shouting
      “Hosanna in the Highest, blessed is He Who comes in the name of the
      Lord”. This prophesies what will happen at the second coming when our
      Lord descends from heaven and returns to earth as the disciples saw Him
      go – in a cloud of glory. The rumor of his coming will be known first by
      those nearest to Him, the saints and will spread to the pious members of
      the Church and finally the whole world will know of His coming – all in
      an instant. And those who love Christ will set aside their labors and
      worldly cares and will run to meet Him, even ascending into the air to
      greet Him and shout His praise, “Hosanna in the Highest, Blessed is He
      Who comes in the name of the Lord!”. This is spoken of in the letter to
      the Thessalonians by the Apostle, “For the Lord himself shall descend
      from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the
      trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are
      alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to
      meet the Lord in the air” Palm Sunday is a reminder to us that Jesus
      Christ is God incarnate, the Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth. He
      is all powerful and has promised to return to take us to himself. For
      this reason, though we see Him arrested, beaten, abused, tortured,
      mocked and finally nailed to the cross we need not fear or lose faith.
      Even as He sacrifices His life and willingly releases His soul from His
      body and dies and is buried and descends into hades – we know that He is
      not defeated, but rather that He willingly suffers all this for us, that
      He might free us from the captivity and slavery to sin, that He might
      heal us of that deadly disease which infects us even to the core of our
      very being and that having defeated sin, death and the devil, having
      broken the chains of our bondage, having broken down the gates of hades
      and opened the path to paradise for us, He will rise from the dead – for
      death cannot hold Him Who is Life itself. Let us enter this difficult
      struggle knowing that the God/man Jesus Christ is the all powerful King
      of all Creation, the ruler of heaven and earth. Let us enter the battle
      knowing that He is invincible, that He cannot be overcome or contained,
      that even death has no hold or power over Him. Let us also see that He
      Who is our God and the Ruler of all has humbled Himself for the sole
      purpose of accomplishing our salvation and opening the path to heaven
      that we might remain with Him throughout eternity.

      Therefore, brethren, knowing all of this, even though you are in the
      midst of struggles and trials and tribulations, hear the words of the
      Apostle who tells us, “Rejoice … always and again I say Rejoice … The
      Lord is at hand” No matter in what situation or circumstance we may find
      ourselves, whether we struggle with difficulty in the world, or strong
      temptation in the soul or are in the midst of death and destruction and
      can see only the cross – remember that the Lord is near and so “be
      anxious for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with
      thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” That is put all of
      your cares and anxieties and concerns into the hands of the Ruler of the
      Universe who loves you and cares for you.

      Look carefully at what the Apostle says to us today – first that the
      Lord is at hand. Just as He came into the city of Jerusalem, so also He
      comes to us. Knowing this, we now have the choice to ignore him and
      continue with our struggles on our own strength, or to set aside our own
      labors and take up the praise of God and setting all of our needs before
      Him as our cloak or even the branches of palm on the ground. How do we
      know that He will hear us and that He will care for us? The Apostle says
      that we let our requests be made known to God “with thanksgiving” so
      that we are reminded of all that He has already done for us, all the
      care He has already given us, and all the mercy and grace that He has
      already showered upon us. Seeing what has already come to pass, we can
      have confidence that He will continue to show us His mercy in the future.

      As a result of all this now, we can begin to prepare ourselves to meet
      the Lord. Just as we would clean our homes and bring out all the best of
      our decorations in anticipation of greeting an honored guest. Just as we
      would go and “stock up” on all the best food and drink and other
      necessities, in anticipation of our guest’s arrival. So also we should
      prepare for the coming of the King of All. Therefore the Apostle tells
      us, “Whatever things are lovely or of good report; any virtue or praise,
      think on these things.” Fill your mind and heart with those things by
      which God is glorified. Guard your heart and mind, turn away from the
      dark, passionate and sinful things of the world and instead embrace all
      that is good and lovely and virtuous and praiseworthy. Fill your whole
      life with all that is the best and thus prepare to receive our honored
      guest, the King of the Universe, who comes to us with rejoicing and with
      the shouts of the archangels. Prepare to receive Jesus Christ for “the
      Lord is at hand” – “Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He Who comes in
      the name of the Lord”.

      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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