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Homily for 4/28/13 - Palm Sun - taking sides

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  • Fr David Moser
    John 12:1-18 Today we celebrate the feast of the Triumphal Entry of our Lord into Jerusalem. Last night at the Vigil service we all received blessed branches
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 28, 2013
      John 12:1-18

      Today we celebrate the feast of the Triumphal Entry of our Lord into
      Jerusalem. Last night at the Vigil service we all received blessed
      branches of palm and willow and today we hold these same branches as we
      stand with those who welcomed Jesus Christ as their king and messiah. We
      too welcome Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior crying to Him as did the
      crowds in Jerusalem, “Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He Who comes in
      the name of the Lord”. The synaxarion of the feast tells us that “By
      using palms, they (those who welcomed Christ) were signifying Christ’s
      imminent victory over death. For it was the custom to honor the victors
      of contests or battles with triumphal processions and to lead them
      around with branches from evergreens. The meaning of ‘Hosanna’ is ‘Save
      us now, we pray’.” Thus by carrying these blessed branches we too
      welcome Christ as the victor over sin death and the devil and in crying
      “Hosanna” to Him we ask Him to deliver us as well from our own sins,
      from enslavement to the devil and from the captivity of death.

      When our Lord entered thus into Jerusalem there were two different
      responses from the people there. There were those who gathered together
      with the multitude gathered around our Lord and His disciples, joyfully
      awaiting and greeting Christ. They had heard of this great teacher and
      miracle worker and were anxious that He might come to them as well.
      There were also those who were alarmed at His coming. They did not
      welcome Him and seeing the uproar of the crowds at first expressed
      disapproval, but in their hearts began to plot how Jesus might be done
      away with. These were the Pharisees and rulers of the people who saw
      Jesus not as a Savior, but who saw Him as a threat to their own
      authority and privilege.

      Today, in celebrating the triumphal entry, we also step into these
      events of Holy Week, leading up to the Cross, and to the tomb and
      finally to the Resurrection. Today we are mystically joined to those who
      welcomed Christ and we mystically begin to walk with our Lord throughout
      His great work of redemption – hearing his teaching in the temple;
      sitting with Him at the Last Supper and receiving from His hands His own
      Most Holy Body and Most Precious Blood; praying in the garden; being
      arrested and tried by the Jews; standing before Pilate and being judged
      by him; being nailed to the Cross and dying with Him; taking Him to
      burial in the tomb; descending with Him to hades to defeat sin death and
      the devil; and rising with Him and receiving from Him the gift of Life.

      However we do not only enter into these historical events today, but we
      also enter into the deeper and mystical meaning of these events. The
      city of Jerusalem is the icon of the holy of holies of the human soul
      and Christ comes to us, seeking entrance. Those who welcomed Him
      symbolize the noble sentiments and higher thoughts which push us to do
      good and to live a righteous life. But there are also within us those
      lower desires and earthbound thoughts which have taken the upper hand in
      our lives and suppress our higher nature and desire to live with God.
      These lower desires are threatened by Christ for they will be unseated
      as the ruler of the soul and will inevitably be destroyed. Thus within
      ourselves we have these same two responses to the coming of Christ.
      There is the part of us that rejoices in His coming for at least the
      desire for righteousness and for the worship of God sees the hope of
      being freed from the tyranny of sin. But there are also, in us, the
      passions and self centeredness which have had their way, suppressed and
      corrupted the desire for God and have had free expression by cooperating
      with the suggestions of the devil. These egocentric passions see their
      dethronement and eventual destruction in the coming of Christ and so
      resist Him and seek to expel Him from the heart of the soul.

      By His coming, Christ heals the souls of those who are sick with sin and
      who fall down before Him with faith. By His power those impulses of the
      soul which are in harmony with His will are strengthened and healed and
      brought to the fore. When Jesus comes into the soul, He destroys the
      “old man” of the fallen nature which resists Him and establishes the
      “new man” born in the Life that He gives to us by His Resurrection as
      the ruler of the heart of man.

      When we welcome Christ into the Jerusalem of our own soul, we welcome
      Him as the victor over the sin which dwells within us. We welcome Him as
      our Savior Who will deliver us from our captivity to the rule of our
      sinful and self centered passions. We rejoice for He has destroyed our
      old enemy the devil who infects us with the disease of sin resulting in
      death and He heals us from this disease giving us instead His eternal Life.

      On this day, Christ comes to us and we take sides. We takes sides in the
      war against sin, death and the devil. We welcome Jesus Christ as our
      Lord, as our Savior, as the leader and captain of our souls. We embrace
      Him and seek to be embraced by Him. We join our fate, even our lives, to
      His. Even though we know that this means that in only a few days we will
      be nailed with Him to the Cross and that we will suffer with Him, we
      welcome Him today. Even though we will die with Him and with Him descend
      into Hades there to face our old enemy and captor, we also know that He
      is with us and that He will win the victory over sin, over the devil and
      even over death and thus we will rise with Him into the new and eternal
      life of the Resurrection. Today we step onto this path, waving the palms
      and branches of victory, welcoming the coming of our Lord and Messiah,
      crying out “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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