Palm Sunday – Byzantine Rite – 09 April 2023

Troparion — Tone 1

By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your passion, / You did confirm the universal Resurrection, O Christ God! / Like the children with the palms of victory, / we cry out to You, O Vanquisher of death: / Hosanna in the Highest! / Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!

Troparion — Tone 4

When we were buried with You in Baptism, O Christ God, / we were made worthy of eternal life by Your Resurrection! / Now we praise You and sing: / Hosanna in the highest! / Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord!

Genesis 49:1-2, 8-12 

And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days:“ Gather together and hear, you sons of Jacob, And listen to Israel your father.” Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.

Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk.

Matthew 21:1-11, 15-17

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them. All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!” And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?” Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He lodged there.

Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.


“Lift up your gates, O Ye Princes; be lifted up, ye everlasting Doors, and the King of Glory shall enter in!”

Today, Palm Sunday in the Byzantine Rite,  we commemorate the triumphant entry of Our Master and Illuminator into Jerusalem; we are present as the gates of the Holy City open before the King of Kings, the Sun of Righteousness. And we should take time to note that at the heart of the Divinely inspired mystery that is the Paschal Cycle, is a mystical reflection of the actions of Our Savior.

Our Lord has passed through the gates of Jerusalem, as His followers sing out “Hosanna!”;  that’s simply the first set of gates that our Lord and Master passes through.

This coming Saturday, in the Byzantine Rite, is the entrance of Our Master, the Light of the World, into Hell.; When the celebrant of the Divine Liturgy knocks on the doors of the nave, and those doors are thrown open before him, there is an icon of what occurs when the Savior of the children of Adam and Eve marches, triumphantly, into the Kingdom of Darkness.

Later Saturday night, the holy doors and the deacon’s doors on the iconostasis will be left open. The celebrant does that because we are commemorating the fact that Jesus Christ, was not even inconvenienced by the sealed-up tomb.  And two weeks hence,  we will be commemorating Thomas Sunday.  On that day, we will remember how, on two separate occasions, Our Living King is able to visit with the apostles, even though the doors of the house in which they are staying have been locked.

Because even though Jesus Christ has entered into the gates of the City of Jerusalem, even though He has broken down the gates of Hell, even though the door of the tomb and the doors to the Upper Room could not withstand Him, even though He has already entered into the Kingdom of Heaven, there is one gate, there is one set of doors through which He still has to enter, and that is the gate, the door of our hearts.  Let us welcome Him with hearts dedicated to service for our fellows and compassion for all, in His Holy Name.  AMEN.

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