Palm Sunday

Cease fearing, O daughter of Sion, behold, thy King cometh, sitting on a colt of an ass.” [Jn. 12:15] Today we here the prophecy repeated from Zechariah written over 400 years before our Lord’s entrance into the holy city.

The great kings of the earth come and bring destruction and devastation riding on an experienced war horse amongst a parade of solders. Our Great King comes riding alone into the holy city on a colt of an ass, an animal of peace, one never before ridden. And this is only meet and right, for the name ‘Jerusalem’ means ‘the City of Peace’; Christ alone, the King of Peace, is therefore Jerusalem’s rightful King.

People line the street and children greet Him with palm branches, the symbols of victory, and they cry ‘Hosanna’, meaning ‘Save, we pray’. Their cry and their action are greater than they know, for in their innocence they speak the truth, for Christ alone saves us. The palm branches are indeed tokens of victory, for Victory comes through the Tree of the Cross and the surrendering of our life to the One who gives us life.

This is not just an historic event and a great day in the church, but an event that can be repeated at every communion. For whenever we seek peace and humility as if seated on a colt, and come as innocent children crying ‘Save, we pray’, then Christ enters our souls and makes our souls into Jerusalem’s, ‘Cities of Peace’ within us.

The entry into Jerusalem upon an unbroken colt is also a repetition of Moses’ prophecy that the Gentiles would rejoice in the Lord, but the Jews would be rejected. Here, the unbroken colt, “whereon yet never man sat” (Lk. 19:30), is an image of the Gentiles. The Apostles’ garments that were placed on the colt are Christ’s teachings by which the Apostles would instruct the Gentiles, and the Lord Himself seated spiritually upon the Gentiles loving them and guiding them as His own. He led his people into Jerusalem to the city of salvation and blessedness, a city not made by the hands of men, to the bosom of the Church. The rejected Jews were also present there. With their lips they cried, “The King of Israel”, but in their hearts they had already decided to kill our Savior. Listen to the words written by Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy: They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation. Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? Is not he thy father that hath bought thee? Hath he not made thee, and established thee?’ (Deut. 32:5–6).

Today, as we receive our blessed Palm branches, let us take them to our homes and place them somewhere where we can always see them. Let the Palms remind us that Christ is the King of our families and the King of our hearts, and that Christ is the only True answer to happiness and meaning in our lives. And if we do proclaim Christ as our King, let us try and make time for Him in our daily life, let us be reminded that He is the one with whom we will be spending eternity. Let us be reminded that our careers, our education, our finances, our homes, all of the basic material needs in our lives are only temporary. Let us prioritize and place Christ the King as the primary concern in our lives. It is only when we have done this that we will find True peace and happiness in such a puzzled and complex world. Come, won’t you follow Christ? Be rejoicing in the Lord always; again I will say, be rejoicing. [Phil. 4:4] Glory to Thee, O Lord, Glory to Thee who has shown us the Light!

 

Fr. Gabriel Weller 4-12-2020-13

Quiver Full of Excuses

“A kiss thou gavest Me not, but she from the time that I entered did not cease from ardently kissing My feet. With oil thou didst not anoint My head, but she anointed My feet with perfumed ointment. For which reason I say to thee, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”  [Lk. 7:45-47]

 

Are you right with the Lord? We read that even in the Gospel of Saint Luke this morning, not even the Apostles were zealously attending to our Lord. Perhaps at that time, they too had not surrendered all that they were to the Lord of lords. (Deuteronomy 10:17) Perhaps they were distracted with some things in this life. Perhaps they too had taken for granted what Jesus is offering. Excuses are like flies at a summer picnic; they are plentiful and only eat a little. Of course, I have never been fond of eating food after a fly claimed his share, and so my food is wasted. Research published in Science Reports in November 2017 shows that houseflies and blowflies carry several bacteria on their bodies that are harmful to humans. If you don’t swat away those flies, you will be a food basket short of a picnic.

 

Excuses and wasted opportunities are what separate me from salvation! If you are like me, there is always tomorrow or another picnic! I fail to make the most out of my opportunities with a quiver full of excuses. I, just like the Apostles, am failing to attend to my Saviors needs. I too seem to be more about life on Earth and not attentive enough to the health of my soul. I too am less concerned about by sinfulness and more concerned about my stomach, or my bills, or my schedule. Or as Saint Mary of Egypt stated it: “May God protect us from the Evil One and his schemes, for fierce is his struggle against us.” (St. Mary of Egypt)

 

When I was younger I always figured I had plenty of time to make things right with the Lord. Once I had things figured out and established a safe haven and steady income, I knew there would be plenty of opportunities available to me later, when I had time. That was my plan, but not His! It takes quite an effort to quit being a piddly demigod and ingest the triune God deep into my soul.

Rather than letting myself blow to and fro with the great infectious gusts of life, instead safely anchoring my ship of salvation to the very Rock that does not waiver and does not hate me or thirst for my destruction, but yearns for my surrender and yearns for my repentance and for my attention, for with my attention He can teach me salvation! We only have one life of choices to make for the next life will be decided for us. Won’t you come? Won’t you surrender all the dark waters you are sailing through and let down your anchor and willingly secure your future and your salvation on the Rock of Golgotha? No more excuses, there just isn’t time!   

 

Fr. Gabriel Weller 4-5-2020