The Entrance of Our Lord Into Jerusalem
Philippians 4:4- 9 (Epistle)
John 12:1-18 (Gospel)
O Christ our God, we have been buried with You through Baptism and by Your Resurrection, made worthy of life immortal. Praising you, we cry out, “Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
O Lord, by raising Lazarus from the tomb after four days, You taught all to cry out to You, with palms and branches, “Blessed is He who comes.”
Secretly, O Christ, You shed tears for your friend, and raised Lazarus, who had lain dead, thus showing compassion, O Loving One. The multitude of the children learning of Your presence came today, O Savior, holding palms in their hands and crying out to You, “Hosanna. Blessed are You for You come to save the world.”
Let all people and all nations unite in praise, for the King of Angels has now sat upon a foal, and comes in power, wanting to destroy His enemies on the Cross. Accordingly, the children, holding palms, sing out this hymn, “Glory to You who come as Victor. Glory to You, Christ the Savior. Glory to our God who alone is blessed.”
The One who sits upon the throne of the Cherubim and upon a foal, and who has come to His voluntary Passion for our sake, hears today the children cry out, “Hosanna,” and the crowds exclaiming, “O Blessed Jesus, Son of David, hasten to save those You created. For You have come for this, that we may know Your Glory.”
Today, the grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us together, and we all take up Your Cross and declare “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the Highest.”
Explanation of the Feast
The celebration of Christ’s Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem has a very direct correlation to Christ raising Lazarus from the dead. By now, word had spread through most of Jerusalem concerning what Christ had done in Bethany and how He raised Lazarus from the dead.
As you can imagine people were shocked and amazed. Many who had heard Christ preach and believed in Him as Lord came to worship Him. Others, who had heard of His healings and teachings came to see both Jesus and Lazarus with their own eyes so they too can believe.
We read in the Gospel of John (12.14) how it is that Christ finds Himself riding on a young donkey and understand how it is to fulfill what was written I the scriptures. (Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt). The people’s response was one of spontaneity and reverence. The crowd saw Jesus coming and looking around them picked up palms and branches, some carried them in their arms and waved them, while others placed them on the road He was taking into Jerusalem. Still others spread out their garments while all shouted “Hosanna! Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!”
Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem is a messianic event, through which His Divine authority is declared. The events of Palm Sunday call each of us to lift up our voices and praise God; and behold our King, the Word of God made flesh. Palm Sunday summons us to accept both the rule and the Kingdom of God as the goal and content of our Christian life.
We are all called to be active participants in this celebration. We are not simply commemorating an event which took place in the past rather, we are called to open our hearts and our souls and joyfully welcome and praise God shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
According to both custom and tradition fish as well as oil and wine are permitted on Palm Sunday.
The Prayer of the Blessing of the Palms
Lord our God, enthroned above the Cherubim, You have stirred up Your power and sent Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to redeem the world through His Cross, His burial and His Resurrection. When He came to Jerusalem to His voluntary Passion, the people, living in darkness and the shadow of death, taking up the symbols of victory, boughs of trees and palm branches, foretold the Resurrection. Master as we too imitating them, carry Palms and branches on this eve of the feast, watch over us. And as we offer You Hosanna, like those multitudes and the children, safeguard us, so that in hymns and spiritual songs we, too, may worthily witness the lifegiving Resurrection on the third day, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with Whom You are blessed, together with Your all-holy, good and lifegiving Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.
Rev. Father Peter J. Orfanakos, Parish Priest
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