Sunday of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 2018

Today we have a double joy. We celebrate the feast of the Annunciation and we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

The Annunciation is the event of Mary consenting to conceive the God-Man, Jesus the Christ. At the moment of Mary’s consent, the Second Person of the Trinity joined a human nature to his divine nature. He took on human flesh becoming like us in all things except sin.

The event of the triumphal entry propels us forward to six days before his passion, death and glorious resurrection. This is the completion of the events of our salvation. It is the culmination of thousands of years of human history during which God worked to achieve our redemption.

We began the Great and Holy Week on Saturday – Lazarus Saturday – and we now go with Jesus as he makes his final journey to Jerusalem. For that reason, this week is truly great and holy. How will you observe this week? How will you make it holy?

As you can see in the bulletin we have morning and evening services everyday of this week. The opportunities are there for joining with your fellow parishioners in the journey with Jesus. The liturgical texts help us reflect on and understand the meaning of the events of this journey.

Now, I realize that various factors will interfere with your ability to be present for our liturgical services. Nevertheless, you can also make this week holy in your own homes. Thoughtful and prayerful reading of Scripture, especially the Gospel accounts of the events we are re-living this week, is one way to make this week great and holy.

Reading a spiritual book about Jesus’ death and resurrection is another way. Taking time for individual prayer at your icon corner or prayer with your family members will remind you that this week is unlike other weeks of the year. It is especially holy.

Reflect day by day on what Jesus is doing each day. Today he goes up to Jerusalem. The next three days are days of anticipation, of quiet waiting. Wednesday evening Judas slips off to arrange Jesus’ betrayal. Now things heat up. Thursday, Jesus institutes both the priesthood and the Eucharist. We go with him into the Garden of Gethsemane and watch as he is hauled away to the high priest’s residence, to Herod’s palace and to Pontius Pilate’s residence. Consider the irony that the crowd won’t enter Pilate’s quarters because they wanted to avoid ritual impurity while, at the same time, demanding the execution of our Savior.

On Friday, follow Jesus to Golgotha and stand at the foot of the cross while Jesus slowly dies. Take his dead body from the cross and bury it in a cave-tomb. Wait throughout the Saturday Sabbath while Jesus goes into Hades to trample death and give us life.

What happens on Sunday? Come and see. Come and experience the greatest event of salvation that began with the Annunciation and is fulfilled on Pascha.


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