Palm Sunday

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Christians celebrating Palm Sunday in Beirut, Lebanon 2016.

On the Sunday before the Feast of Great and Holy Pascha and at the beginning of Holy Week, the Orthodox Church celebrates one of its most joyous feasts of the year.

Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem following His glorious miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead.

Having anticipated His arrival and having heard of the miracle, the people went out to meet the Lord and welcomed Him with displays of honor and shouts of praise.

On this day, we receive and worship Christ in this same manner, acknowledging Him as our King and Lord.

Palm Sunday summons us to behold our king: the Word of God made flesh.

He comes to free us from all our fears and insecurities,¬†“to take solemn possession of our soul and to be enthroned in our heart,” as someone has said.

Palm Sunday summons us to behold our king – the Suffering Servant.

We cannot understand Jesus’ kingship apart from the Passion. Filled with infinite love for the Father and the Holy Spirit, and for creation, in His inexpressible humility, Jesus accepted the infinite abasement* of the Cross.

In the fleeting moments of exuberance that marked Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the world received its King, the king who was on His way to death.

His Passion, however, was no morbid desire for martyrdom.

Jesus’ purpose was to accomplish the mission for which the Father sent Him.

“The Son and Word of the Father, like Him without beginning and eternal, has come today to the city of Jerusalem, seated on a dumb beast, on a foal.

From fear the cherubim dare not gaze upon Him, yet the children honor Him with palms and branches, and mystically they sing a hymn of praise:

‘Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna to the Son of David, who has come to save from error all mankind.'”

– A hymn of the Light

*Abasement: noun

1 the action or fact of abasing or being abased; humiliation or degradation.

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