Father Rodney Torbic

March 19 / April 1, 2018

The Feast of Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem

Mark 9:17-31

Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always. Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt. These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle. (KJV)

The Feast of the Entry of the Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem comes at a pivotal time in the liturgical year. Great Lent has come to a close. Holy Week is at hand. Serious believers sense the importance of the feast.

The raising of Lazarus from the dead is an integral part of the present Gospel. The Feast is celebrated on Sunday. Each Sunday is a celebration of Christís Resurrection. Lazarus and Christís Resurrection are connected.

Believers do well to savor the Feast of the Entry into Jerusalem. Believers do well to think about the way Jesus entered Jerusalem. Believers benefit when thinking about contemporary authorities and their lifestyles.

Jesus chose a particular century to take on flesh. Jesus chose a specific day to enter Jerusalem. The day would come to be remembered every year in later centuries.

Jesus selected a particular mode of transportation to enter Jerusalem. In subsequent centuries many different forms of transportation would come available. The simplicity of riding on a donkey cannot be overlooked.

A period of extensive fasting precedes the arrival of Palm Sunday. Great Lent is a time for Christians to simplify life. Great Lent is a time to do away with excess in appetite and lifestyle. Riding on a donkey is simple transportation.

Believers know now that the entry into Jerusalem came not long before Jesus was arrested and eventually crucified. The joy of Palm Sunday would soon diminish.

At the beginning of Great Lent, Palm Sunday, the Feast of the Entry into Jerusalem can seem afar off. When Palm Sunday arrives, Holy Week is at hand. The atmosphere changes as Palm Sunday draws to a close.

With the arrival of Holy Week, great seriousness takes over. Ideally, every believer treats every day of Great Lent seriously. Ideally, every believer values Great Lent as a time of training, a time to work for the betterment of the soul.

Great Lent is not a time to fast for a few days. Great Lent is an extensive block of time to be used for repentance and return to God. Great Lent is to be used entirely from the very beginning to the arrival of Holy Week.

Palm Sunday is a day of joy. Each Sunday is a day of joy. The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is uncontainable joy. Jesus riding into Jerusalem identified as King is cause for great celebration.

The raising of Lazarus increased interest in Jesus. The return of Lazarus from the dead was reason for great interest. In every century since the raising of Lazarus and the Resurrection of Jesus, hope abounds.

Martha served the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary anointed and wiped Jesusí feet. Consider the lasting impact on Martha and Mary. How many women have served Christ in succeeding centuries as the least among brethren? (Mt. 25:31-46)?

Consider Lazarus at this table with Jesus. Lazarus was in a period of new life. Men and women regularly find new life in Christ. A certain number of the individuals finding new life in Christ remain faithful to Christ.

Lazarus continues to be a lesson for each generation of believers. Lazarus Saturday as the day before Palm Sunday has come to be known as a day of great joy in the Orthodox Church.

Believers coming to church on Lazarus Saturday experience the joy. On Lazarus Saturday in Serbian Orthodox Churches it is common to process around the church with bells ringing and the tropar of the day being sung joyfully.

Christís Entry into Jerusalem lifts the mind to a new level. Believers are pressed to think about Jesus on a donkey riding into Jerusalem with people crying : ďHosana! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!Ē

The arrival in Jerusalem is a time to think back to the Feast of the Nativity. It is a time to think of Christís earthly life and all that is known to have taken place. Christ chose to be born humbly. He chose to enter Jerusalem humbly.

How many will learn from Christís humility in taking on human flesh and entering into Jerusalem? How many believers will take personal steps to lead life in Christ in a more reserved and humble manner?

March 19 / April 1, 2018
The Feast of Christís Entry into Jerusalem.
Palm Sunday.

Fr. Rodney Torbic
Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania

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