The Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem
“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,
the king of Israel.”
Look, the whole world has gone after Him.”
Today we celebrate the Triumphant Entry of Our Lord into the holy city of Jerusalem. The Lord’s hour is approaching. Jesus had just brought Lazarus back to life after being in the tomb for four days. (John 12:17f) In a discourse between Martha, Lazarus’ sister, Jesus tells her: “Take away the stone.” Martha replies: ”Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus then says: “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” Lazarus comes out of the tomb. They unbind the burial linen. Many of the Jews who had come to comfort Martha in her bereavement had seen what Jesus had just done and had come to believe in Him.
The crowd that was with Jesus when He called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him raised from the dead kept testifying to that miraculous event. Word got around and many from the crowd gathered that day in Jerusalem went to meet Jesus and to actually see Lazarus whom He raised.
The chief priests and Pharisees had begun to make plans to arrest and kill the Lord. They were upset because many of the Jews were turning away from them and believing in Jesus. It was reported that they also were plotting to kill Lazarus too. (John 12:10)
The day after the raising of Lazarus, a crowd was assembling in Jerusalem for the celebration of the great feast of Passover. Having heard that Jesus was coming to the holy city, they greeted Jesus with palm branches in their hands, crying aloud: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel.”
The People of God, the Israelites, had come to greet and acclaim Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah of Whom the prophets foretold and also as their king, the King of Israel. The people recognized that Jesus Our Lord had the same power of God (Yahweh) manifested throughout salvation history, as recorded in the Old Testament. In their struggle against sickness, suffering and death, Jesus the Lord manifested the healing and life-giving power of Almighty God. Jesus, the Son of God, is man’s ally even today in this ongoing struggle against the power of evil and all its terrible effects such as sickness, suffering and death.
The Lord they acclaimed on that first Palm Sunday celebration, His entry into Jerusalem, is the same today as then. Jesus’ hour was approaching. He was about to be handed over to the hands of evil men. The crowd hailed Him as King with the words: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel.” But not all shared this sentiment. There were in their midst the Pharisees who had seen all this and began to say to one another: “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the whole world has gone after Him.” (12:19)
Jesus had Himself predicted that this would happen and that He would suffer and die, but also stated that on the third day He would rise from the dead. On the night He was betrayed or rather handed Himself over for the life of the world, Jesus at the Last Supper with the Twelve Apostles shares a meal and celebrates the first Liturgy, giving sacramentally His Body and Blood to eat and to drink.
Jesus will come again one day to judge the living and the dead. In the meantime, He has given to us today His Body and Blood as spiritual food and drink. The Lord will sustain us by bestowing upon us His manifold graces and blessings. May we all His faithful followers walk in His footsteps and carry our crosses daily with perfect love and resignation to fulfill the Holy Will of God, the Almighty Father.
Being faithful to His Word now and receiving spiritual nourishment for our body and soul, may we hold onto and preserve our holy faith and may we have our eyes fixed not on temporal, earthly glory, but rather the eternal glory. Let us pray that on that Day of Judgment, we be deemed worthy of eternal life in Heaven.
The faithful today may be suffering for their faith and desires to remain free from the hands of evil men who seek to take away life and to destroy. Our vision in life is to be one of valuing the life of each and every person created in the image and likeness of God. That worth,that value cannot be assessed a numerical amount. It is of immense value and unlimited possibilities if lived in the spirit of Christ, Who continues to give to each of us the way, the path to follow. It is one that ultimately leads to true peace here on earth with all the rest that follows, such as justice, respect for life from the womb to the tomb, from birth to the grave. It includes here on earth a compassion for the sufferings of others and the practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
Two years ago on Palm Sunday, in the midst of the pandemic His Beatitude Sviatoslav in his homily remarked: “We can only become better if, in the circumstances of this deadly disease, we rethink the value of human life, when we stop wars and stop investing in death, but invest in life. We as humanity will become better when today those in power in the nations stop investing in arms production and start investing in health care development.”
Life is sacred and that is a given for each person, each nation. Our beloved Ukraine is suffering not only the loss of property but the life of individual persons. What suffering, what devastation has come upon Ukraine in recent day at the hands of those who invade and show no respect for life or the property of another. Our fervent prayer is that soon Ukraine will rise again and rebuild and live in peace and harmony.
If we now have this unconditional love for God above all else and a love for one’s neighbor as oneself, which excludes no one, we can with blessed assurance look forward to a life of eternity in Heaven with God, the Most Blessed Trinity, the Holy Mother of God, and all the saints. Let us daily acclaim with fervor: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel.” Blessed be the Savior of the world!
Rev. D. George Worschak