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homily for 3/28/10 - Palm Sun - The Lord is at hand

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  • Fr David Moser
    Phillipians 4:4-9 “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice…The Lord is at hand.” The Lord is at hand. Indeed today as we remember the triumphal
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 28, 2010
      Phillipians 4:4-9

      “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice…The Lord is at hand.”

      The Lord is at hand. Indeed today as we remember the triumphal entry of
      our Lord into Jerusalem we realize that He is near and coming to us as
      well. The triumphal entry is a prophecy of the second coming of Christ
      when He shall return in glory. The dead shall rise, just as Lazarus was
      raised from the dead; those who love Him shall rise to meet Him in the
      air and accompany Him as He comes, just as the people came out of the
      city of Jerusalem to meet Him and accompanied Him singing “Hosanna in
      the Highest, blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord” as He came
      into the city; we shall stand before Him Who is the only judge of heaven
      and earth just as He Himself stood before the earthly judges of the
      Sanhedrin; the King of All shall determine our eternal state just as He
      Who is the King of All was condemned by Pilate. Yes, today we rejoice
      with the Apostles and those who with them welcomed our Lord Jesus Christ
      into Jerusalem for now as then, He is near and coming to us.

      Seeing this, the Apostle then tells us “Finally brethren whatever things
      be true … noble … just…pure…lovely…of good report…any
      virtue…praiseworthy – mediate on these things.” While it is a good thing
      that Christ draws near to us, we must respond by drawing near to Him.
      How many of those who cried Hosanna and accompanied Christ into the
      city, later on remained silent as He was condemned – or even more were
      swept up in the crowd calling for the condemnation of Jesus Christ and
      choosing instead Barabbus. By coming into Jerusalem, Jesus drew near to
      the queen of cities, the Holy City of Jerusalem, but though He drew near
      to them, many did not draw near to Him. The rulers of the Jews, the
      Pharisees and Sadducees were too caught up in their political
      maneuverings and power plays to draw near to Christ. Some of the members
      of the crowd were simply caught up in the emotion of the moment and when
      it died, they forgot Who it was they welcomed and were caught up again,
      calling for His death. Some of those in the crowd that day were
      genuinely drawn to Jesus Christ, but remained silent loving the world
      more than the creator of the world and thus let His approach to them
      pass by without effect. The Lord drew near, indeed was at hand – but
      only a few would draw near to Him.

      The Lord is at hand – He draws near to us. We must then respond and draw
      near to Him. How then do we do this. The Apostle tells us quite clearly
      that we must clear our minds and hearts of all that would distract us
      from Jesus Christ and fill our souls then with those things which come
      from Him – that is those things that are true, noble, just, pure,
      lovely, virtuous and praiseworthy. In order to draw near to Christ, we
      must do all that is possible to fill our souls with His grace. And so we
      go looking for those things which are filled with the grace of God –
      that which is true and noble and pure and virtuous and so on. We must
      not fill our hearts with those things which are bound to this earth but
      rather those things which bring us the grace of God. Anything which
      displaces Jesus Christ in our hearts and minds impedes our ability to
      draw near to Him. What a tragedy it was for those in Jerusalem – the
      Messiah, the One Whom they had awaited all their lives, the One that
      their fathers and their father’s fathers had awaited, came to them and
      they missed it – because they weren’t looking, they had allowed the
      world to displace their love of God. What a tragedy for us if we take
      our eyes off of Christ and allow the things of this world to come
      between us and Him. The Lord is at hand – but we have wandered off like
      the lost sheep and became engrossed with other things. The Lord draws
      near to us, but we neglect to draw near to Him. What a great tragedy and

      And so, my brothers and sisters, today amid the palms and the willow
      branches and the Hosannas, let us remember that it is all about Jesus
      Christ. He is coming to us. But in order to benefit from His approach,
      we must also come to Him. Let us set aside every earthly care, anything
      that pulls us away from Christ. Soon we will celebrate His glorious
      Resurrection, His victory of sin and death and the devil by which He has
      freed us to follow Him. In order to follow Him out of death into life,
      out of sorrow into joy, out of sin and into righteousness, we must cut
      off anything that will hold us back when the moment of our freedom
      comes. This is the time of our preparation to follow Christ when He
      comes to lead us out of sin and into heaven – but if we are bound up
      with the things of the world, we will be unable to follow him. The
      prayers and services of Holy Week are the means given to us by the
      Church by which we fill our souls with all those grace filled things of
      which the Apostle spoke. Thus we should do everything in our power to
      take advantage of this. If we miss even one prayer, even one service,
      then we will be all the poorer for it – just that much more ill-prepared
      to follow Christ when He comes to us and sets us free.

      And do not forget that there will be temptations. Our enemy and the
      enemy of Christ, the devil will do everything to distract us, to pull us
      away from Christ. He will put all kinds of attractive distractions in
      our path even now – especially now – at the last minute so that he can
      steal away the progress we have already made and perhaps even derail our
      preparations altogether. Be alert! Do not let the evil one stand in your
      way and prevent you from drawing near to Christ. He stood in the way of
      the Pharisees and Saducees and other rulers of the Jews; he stood in the
      way of those who sought only the emotion of the crowd; he stood in the
      way of those who loved the world more than they loved Christ. Do not let
      him stand in your way – but reject the temptations and distractions that
      he will throw in your path to keep you from prayer, to keep you from the
      services of Holy Week, to keep you from anything that brings to you the
      grace of God.

      Rejoice and again I say rejoice! The Lord is at hand! He is coming to
      you, and you must prepare to go to Him. Let us all pray together and
      prepare together so that on the bright day of Pascha – on the feast of
      our Lord’s Resurrection – we might run to Him and embrace Him and draw
      near to Him and follow Him together into His kingdom. Rejoice for the
      Lord is drawing near!

      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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