Now we have completed the Lenten Fast (Friday evening) and we have before us two days of joy, as a prelude to the days of grief which follow; Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday.
Our Lord delayed his arrival in Bethany as a prophetic intervention before He entered the week leading to His Passion. People saw his humanity in His compassion with weeping for his friend Lazarus and they noted,” How He loved him!”. But to Martha, when she said, "I know that my brother will rise again in the resurrection at the last day”, Jesus replied, “I am the Resurrection!”; "I AM, as God, the Resurrection and the life.” He demonstrated that he was both human and divine for all to see, and, in this prophecy in action, He demonstrated that He had the power over death, foretelling what he would reveal, in himself, eight days later. In this prophecy, when He shouted, “ Lazarus, Come out!”, he was speaking to us also, demanding that we too come out of whatever tomb in which we are trapped, to move into the Truth, "that those who are dying in Adam might be made alive in thy Christ himself” ( as the Liturgy of St Basil clearly encourages us to pray in the prayer of consecration ). “ So I pray to Thee, O Thou lover of Mankind to raise me to life, I, who through my passions are dead….."
Now, we can indeed rejoice with Our Lord and all with Him as he makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, waving the ( olive ) palms of Triumphant Victory which have born the olives, which give the oil of Anointing and Healing. Christ is no longer, merely the acclaimed teacher, but the King of Glory, and we welcome Him as such. We shout, Hosannah, meaning “Save now, we pray!" This King, riding humbly on an ass is not like the earthly king expected by the Jews, He is King of our hearts. We come to Him on this day, before we enter with Him into Passion Week and He comes to us. Now, He is more than the Master who teaches, but the King who wishes to take possession of our soul and be enthroned in our heart. "Alleluia, Praise to Thee, Jahweh! Hosannah, Save us now, we pray!” Only when we have celebrated Jesus triumphal entry into the Holy City are we ready for what is to follow. The crowds who had witnessed the rising of Lazarus and were now greeting their new found King share in joy and an understanding which was denied to others. The Chief Priests did not realise that they were “dying in Adam" and not able or willing, "to be made alive in Christ". They saw Him as a threat, one who might disturb their comfortable existence and upset the Roman overlords. They are the ones who were able to persuade other folks in Jerusalem, to shout, not, “Hosannah", but, “Crucify!". For us there is also this challenge. Are we able and willing to throw our garments of self-satisfaction and contentment with our life in Adam, before the advancing King? Does our fear of what might happen to us if we take the challenge of this week too seriously, hold us back? Might we slip into the crowd, later in the week, shouting for His death?
Metropolitan Anthony in one of his sermons at this time reminds us that when God created man He offered him eternal life, a share in His own fullness of life. But man answered God’s gift with betrayal due to self-focus, thus condemning God to death. This became even death on The Cross. For God said, in these last days, "What more can I do for you to encourage you into life with me, the fullness of Life to which I am inviting you? I will send to you my only Son, surely you will listen to Him.”
The Father delivers into our human hands His only begotten Son.
It is to this amazing love, this outpouring of love beyond our understanding that we, today, walk humbly with Our Lord into Jerusalem to stand with Him in His Passion and, in acceptance of the life He is giving us, to know truly and with certainty, " those who are dying in Adam are made alive in God’s Christ. ”
May God bless you in this most important week in the life of the Church.