On The Prophecy and Mystery of Palm Sunday

icon from the Temple Gallery

St. Philaret of Moscow 1821-1867

What of a truth does this royal entry of the Lord into Jerusalem signify ? Wherefore so wonderful a prediction? Why such a multitude of miracles? What is the intention of such unwonted arrangements? What is the result of these Divine works? What is the fruit of so majestic, but at the same time so transient an appearance of the King of Zion ? Like lightning does the kingdom of heaven show itself over Jerusalem, and like lightning is it swallowed up in the region of darkness…

The entry of the Lord into Jerusalem is not the mere manifestation of His present kingdom, but rather a prophecy and a fore- shadowing of His future kingdom. His kingdom is not this Jerusalem, which shall soon be destroyed, nor is it the country of Judea, which shall soon be conquered and laid waste, but the Church against which even “the gates of hell shall not prevail.” The ass and the colt upon which He sitteth during His royal progress, typify the two classes of people over whom He is come to reign spiritually— the Jews and the Gentiles. The ass bearing the yoke is the image of the Jews, who have long borne upon their necks the yoke of the law,”a yoke which,” as the best of them confesses, “neither our fathers nor we are able to bear,” and which it was therefore necessary to change for the easy yoke and light burden of Christ. The untrained colt typifies the Gentiles, untamed by doctrine, and ignorant of the law. The Apostles take the ass and its colt without hindrance, that is, the Apostles, notwithstanding all impediments, subdue Jews and Gentiles to the Kingdom of Christ. The Lord mounts the colt, and the ass follows: that is, it is the Gentiles who first, for the most part, submit to the Kingdom of Christ, and when the predestined number of Gentiles shall have entered into the fulness of the Church, then will also the remaining Jews be converted and rejoin them. The untrained colt submissively bears the King: that is, the untaught, and until now self- willed Gentiles, are soon trained by the doctrine of the law of Christ. Garments are spread before the King : that is, perfect followers of Christ resign everything to Him. Children welcome and praise the King: that is, hearts childlike in their simplicity and sincerity receive Christ in faith, and glorify Him by love.

Christians! Sons of the Kingdom of Christ! If we do behold the glory, or penetrate the mystery of today’s solemnity, let us not suffer it to pass by as something that concerns us not ; for in this case we should remain aliens and strangers to the Kingdom of Christ. Does the Lord send any of us on any mission? Then let us obey like the Apostles, without demur. Does He require anything from us? Let us surrender everything without contradiction, in the same manner as the unknown man, at the name of the Lord, gave up his property; let us also willingly give up everything, although it were at the cost of what is most necessary to us, as did those who spread their garments on His way. (Sermon IV, Select Sermons)

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this very illuminating post. Palm Sunday was in many ways a pre-enactment of our Lord’s future entry into the Heavenly Jerusalem with those found worthy to experience the general resurrection when the Day of the Lord begins.

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