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April 28, 2013

Sixth Homily for Palm Sunday (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Crimea

Jerusalem was filled with people who came from everywhere to celebrate the great feast of Passover. The whole city spoke of the great prophet and wonderworker from Nazareth, who just now did the greatest of His countless other miracles, raising Lazarus from the dead, who was four entire days in the tomb. They waited for Him to come to the city and were preparing for His warm welcome. He, accompanied by His disciples, did not walk as a pedestrian as usual, but, beginning from Bethpage, He mounted a female donkey and its colt, to fulfill that which was spoken by the prophet Zachariah: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey" (Zach. 9:9). The Apostles put their clothes on the donkey and colt, while the people took palm branches and spread their clothes out on the street, at the feet of the animals, crying out with great joy: "Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel" (Matt. 21:9).

The Chief Priests, Pharisees and Scribes listened with terror to these cries, which proclaimed the fall of their spiritual power over the people. Let us also turn now our eyes and see the Lord Jesus Christ in this moment. We will be surprised to see that He is not rejoicing at this festal reception. Rather He bends His head and sobbingly weeps. O our Lord! Why are You weeping now, when all the people rejoice? He alone knew Who was Omniscient. He did not weep for Himself but for His people. For they did not believe in the Messiah Christ, Who came for them. They killed the prophets He sent them, and five days after they would receive Him as King, they will ask Pilate for His crucifixion! For all this, these people will be subject to many ills.

Do you think God, who is King of the universe, claimed this dominion and aspired to become King of this small, hardened people of Israel, who did not recognize or receive their Messiah and now were preparing to deliver Him to a horrible and tortuous death by crucifixion? All the holy heavenly bodiless powers would lament at His festal entrance into Jerusalem, if they knew the horrible cross they were preparing for Him on Golgotha.

Did the Lord Jesus Christ weep only for His contemporary Jews? Certainly not! The Omniscient One also knew that which we see today. He knew that over the centuries the human race would entirely forget Him, that they would blaspheme and ridicule His holy Name. He knew this, which is why He said that the Son of Man, when He comes the second time, He probably will not find faith on earth.

We also must weep, who so often forget the cross of Christ, and especially they of whom the Apostle Paul says: "who have treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who have insulted the Spirit of grace?" (Heb. 10:29). And so many misfortunate brothers of ours, at a more terrible extent, exist among us!

Save them, Lord!

Save them, Lord!

Save them, Lord!


From Ἁγίου Λουκᾶ Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Κριμαίας, Λόγοι καὶ ὁμιλίες ποὺ ἐκφωνήθηκαν στὴν Συμφερούπολη κατὰ τὴν περίοδο 1955-1957. τόμος Α´Εκδ. Ορθόδοξος κυψέλη. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.