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“Think in terms of a God that so loves us he becomes one with us and enters into every aspect of our life, our suffering, our death — everything Christ identified with us except for sin. Therefore by doing that it’s a statement that God is never apart from us in everything we experience in life,” Archbishop Daniel stated to the parishioners of the cathedral.
“Let’s discover the significance of some of the events that took place on this first day of the week that Jesus would be crucified (commonly known now as Palm Sunday).
Let’s first look at the branches that were spread upon the road. In John 12:12, these branches are described as “palm branches”. The palm branches carry several meanings.
First of all, palm branches were often used in the celebration of victory and in King David’s time, they were used to honor royalty. This fact of the history of palm branches makes a perfect connection to the true identity of Jesus as the King of Kings.
Not only that, but palm branches also represent Jesus being worthy as the High Priest for all who believe. A palm tree takes 30 years to bear fruit and a man could not become a High Priest until he was 30 years old. The ministry of Jesus began when he was 30 years old.
Palm branches point to Jesus being King and High Priest but there was something else that was laid before Jesus that day that carries great meaning as well.
Peoples “cloaks” or other interpretations say “garments” were also spread out on the road for the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. This was more than just an act of honor, this was also an acknowledgment and declaration that Jesus was the King of Kings, the promised Messiah.
The word garment here is the “tallit” or “prayer shawl”, which was a seamless garment with four corners, with a tassel attached to each of the four corners to remind the Jewish people of all the commands of God.
Upon its collar, the Hebrew letters spell, “Lord of lords and King of kings” as a symbolic reminder of the promised Messiah. By laying their “tallit’s” down, the people were acknowledging Jesus as God’s promised Messiah. They were declaring that Jesus was the one worthy to be called the “Lord of lords and King of kings”.
Whether it was the palm branches or the tallit’s, it all pointed to Jesus being the Messiah, High Priest and King. I pray our lives are continually laid down before Him and that our response is continually a life of worship unto Him.”
Archbishop added in his reflections: “…This year, more so than in decades, Palm Sunday and the celebration of Pascha prompts us to consider the costs of human folly and the devastating acts of the ongoing war – the massacre of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. One cannot receive such horrific news without tears and fears. The feelings of great joy at the Feast of Feasts – and the sadness at the horror of our suffering brothers and sisters in Ukraine are difficult to reconcile, but the Peace offered by our Lord gives us hope. The modern-day aggressor will never be able to erase our nation and people from the face of the earth – because the blessing of Lord has been with our people through the history, it preserved them and their self-identity – this blessing is with US today, as we are joined by the world-wide community, fighting the evil of death, as it is being exemplified by the acts of merciless slaughter of the innocent people of Ukraine by the Russian military, their political and yes – the religious leaders as well.”