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On Palm Sunday

A Sunday in the Life of a Pharisee Воскресенье в жизни фарисея
On Palm Sunday В вербное воскресенье
On the Holy Theophany Беседа на святое Богоявление

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 wonder-worker 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! Amen.

Ἡ Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἦταν γεμάτη κόσμο ποὺ ἦλθε ἀπὸ παντοῦ γιὰ νὰ γιορτάσει τὴ μεγάλη γιορτὴ τοῦ Πάσχα. Ὅλη ἡ πόλη μιλοῦσε γιὰ τὸν μεγάλο προφήτη καὶ θαυματουργὸ ἀπὸ τὴ Ναζαρέτ, ὁ ὁποῖος μόλις τώρα ἔκανε τὸ μεγαλύτερο ἀπὸ ὅλα τὰ ἄλλα ἀμέτρητα θαύματά Του, ἀνέστησε τὸν Λάζαρο, ὁ ὁποῖος τέσσερεις ὁλόκληρες ἡμέρες βρισκόταν στὸν τάφο. Τὸν περίμεναν νὰ ἔλθει στὴν πόλη καὶ προετοιμάζονταν γιὰ τὴ θερμὴ ὑποδοχή Του. Αὐτός, συνοδευόμενος ἀπὸ τοὺς μαθητές Του, δὲν περπατοῦσε πεζός, ὅπως πάντα, ἀλλά, ξεκινώντας ἀπὸ τὴ Βηθσφαγῆ, ἀνέβηκε σ’ ἕνα θηλυκὸ γαϊδούρι καὶ τὸ πουλάρι του, γιὰ νὰ πληρωθεῖ τὸ ρηθὲν τοῦ προφήτου Ζαχαρίου: «Χαῖρε σφόδρα, θύγατερ Σιὼν κήρυσσε, θύγατερ Ἱερουσαλήμ· ἰδοὺ ὁ βασιλεύς σου ἔρχεταί σοι, δίκαιος καὶ σώζων αὐτός, πραῢς καὶ ἐπιβεβηκὼς ἐπὶ ὑποζύγιον καὶ πῶλον νέον» (Ζαχ. θ´ 9). Οἱ ἀπόστολοι ἔβαλαν πάνω στὸ γαϊδούρι καὶ τὸ πουλάρι τοῦ τὰ ροῦχα τους, ἐνῶ ὁ λαὸς πῆρε κλαδιὰ φοινίκων καὶ ἔστρωνε τὰ ροῦχα του στὸν δρόμο, στὰ πόδια τῶν ζώων, κραυγάζοντας μὲ μεγάλη χαρά: «Ὡσαννά, εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου, βασιλεὺς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ».

Οἱ Ἀρχιερεῖς, οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ Γραμματεῖς ἄκουγαν μὲ τρόμο τὶς κραυγὲς αὐτές, ποὺ προανάγγελλαν τὴν πτώση τῆς πνευματικῆς τους ἐξουσίας στὸν λαό. Ἂς στρέψουμε καὶ ἐμεῖς τώρα τὸ βλέμμα μας καὶ ἂς δοῦμε τὸν Κύριο Ἰησοῦ Χριστὸ τὴ στιγμὴ αὐτή. Μὲ ἔκπληξη θὰ δοῦμε ὅτι δὲν χαίρεται τὴν πανηγυρικὴ αὐτὴ ὑποδοχή. Ἀντίθετα σκύβει τὸ κεφάλι Του καὶ κλαίει μὲ λυγμούς. Ὤ, Κύριέ μας! Γιατί κλαῖς τώρα, ὅταν ὅλος ὁ λαὸς χαίρεται; Τὸ ἤξερε μόνο Αὐτὸς ὁ Παντογνώστης. Δὲν ἔκλαιγε γιὰ τὸν Ἑαυτό Του ἀλλὰ γιὰ τὸν λαό Του. Γιὰ τὸ ὅτι δὲν πίστεψε στὸν Μεσσία Χριστό, ὁ ὁποῖος ἦλθε γι’ αὐτόν, γιὰ τὸ ὅτι σκότωνε τοὺς προφῆτες ποὺ ἔστελνε σ’ αὐτὸν καὶ γιὰ τὸ ὅτι πέντε μέρες μετὰ ἀπὸ αὐτὴ τὴν ὑποδοχὴ ὡς Βασιλιά, θὰ ζητήσει ἀπὸ τὸν Πιλάτο νὰ Τὸν σταυρώσει! γιὰ ὅλα αὐτά, θὰ τὸν βροῦν τὸν λαὸ αὐτὸ πολλὰ δεινά.

Ἄραγε ὁ Θεός, ποὺ εἶναι Βασιλιὰς ὅλου τοῦ κόσμου, διεκδικοῦσε τὴν ἐξουσία καὶ προσδοκοῦσε νὰ γίνει βασιλιὰς τοῦ μικροῦ αὐτοῦ καὶ σκληροτράχηλου λαοῦ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, ὁ ὁποῖος δὲν γνώρισε καὶ δὲν δέχθηκε τὸν Μεσσία του καὶ τώρα ἑτοιμαζόταν νὰ Τὸν παραδώσει στὸ φρικτὸ καὶ βασανιστικότατο σταυρικὸ θάνατο; Ὅλες οἱ ἁγίες ἐπουράνιες ἀσώματες δυνάμεις θὰ θρηνοῦσαν κατὰ τὴν πανηγυρική Του εἴσοδο στὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ, ἂν ἤξεραν γιὰ τὸν φρικτὸ σταυρὸ ποὺ Τοῦ ἑτοιμαζόταν στὸν Γολγοθά.

Μόνο γιὰ τοὺς σύγχρονούς Του Ἑβραίους ἔκλαιγε ὁ Κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστός; Ἀσφαλῶς ὄχι! Αὐτὸς ὁ Παντογνώστης ἤξερε ἀκόμα καὶ αὐτὰ ποὺ βλέπουμε ἐμεῖς στὶς ἡμέρες μας. Ἤξερε ὅτι μὲ τὸ πέρασμα τῶν αἰώνων τὸ ἀνθρώπινο γένος ὅλο καὶ περισσότερο θὰ Τὸν ξεχνοῦσε, ὅτι θὰ Τὸν βλασφημοῦσε καὶ θὰ ἔβριζε τὸ ἅγιο ὄνομά Του. Τὸ ἤξερε, γι’ αὐτὸ καὶ ἔλεγε ὅτι ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, ὅταν θὰ ἔλθει γιὰ δεύτερη φορά, πιθανῶς, δὲν θὰ βρεῖ τὴν πίστη πάνω στὴ γῆ.

Πρέπει νὰ κλαῖμε καὶ ἐμεῖς ποὺ τόσο συχνὰ ξεχνᾶμε τὸν σταυρὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἰδιαίτερα αὐτοὶ γιὰ τοὺς ὁποίους λέει ὁ ἀπόστολος Παῦλος: «ὁ τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ καταπατήσας καὶ τὸ αἷμα τῆς διαθήκης κοινὸν ἡγησάμενος, ἐν ᾧ ἠγιάσθη, καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα τῆς χάριτος ἐνυβρίσας!» (Ἑβρ. ι´ 29). Καὶ τόσο πολλοί, καὶ σὲ ποιὸ τρομερὸ βαθμό, ὑπάρχουν μεταξὺ μας τέτοιοι κακότυχοι ἀδελφοί μας!

Σῶσε τους, Κύριε! Σῶσε τους, Κύριε! Σῶσε τους, Κύριε! Ἀμήν.

Αγ.Λουκά επισκόπου Κριμαίας