Her Doctrine and Morals

Palm Sunday

25 March 2018


The Sunday


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Dear Friends,

Throughout His life here on earth, Jesus walked wherever He went. Now, the last time that He enters Jerusalem, He does not walk but rides. He enters Jerusalem in this manner to fulfill the prophecy of the King riding on a donkey. He is the only King to ever do this.

There is wonderful meaning in many of these things for us to consider. The life of poverty that the King of kings chose to live, gives us ample expression of the value of all the things of this earth. He is the Creator of all things, He is the Ruler of all things, yet He chose poverty. He shows us that there are much greater things than those that will pass away. Knowing all things, He shows us that the things of this earth are nothing. The temporal things need not be sought after, we only need to seek after that which is eternal.

Jesus did not enter upon a beautiful horse, or in a carriage, but rather, upon the back of a lowly donkey. In this, He teaches us to use the means that are at hand and are sufficient. We need not seek after things that are beyond what is necessary. God provides us with what is truly needed — not necessarily all that is desired. Jesus shows us how to be indifferent to the vanities and glories of this world as we seek only the glory of Heaven.

It does not matter if we ride on a "noble" and beautiful animal or upon an "ignoble" and lowly one. We do not need the best of anything in this world. We should learn to be content with what is sufficient and available. Simple means of transportation are preferred to extravagant ones. Simple food is to be preferred to rich and costly fare. Simple and modest clothing is better than fancy and costly. Meekness and humility are to be preferred to vanity and pride.

As the Lord and God of all things, His Will is observed in all things. The owners of the donkey and her colt readily released them to the Apostles. Poor tillers of the earth readily turned over the source of their livelihood when informed by the Apostles that the Lord has need of them. Jesus did not contact them directly, but He still exercised His Will in them. All power is His. He could have commanded the Jews and they would have complied — He could have avoided His suffering and death on the cross, but He did not. It is His will to enter into Jerusalem to suffer and die. The willingness of the owners of the animals to release them without seeing the Lord shows us the power of God. This was another instruction for the Apostles and us, so that we may understand that no one takes the life of Jesus from Him — it is He that takes It up and lays It down.

St. John Chrysostom says: "Because of certain resemblances men are likened to these animals; not knowing God, nor the Son of God. For this is an unclean animal, and more unintelligent than other beasts of burthen, stupid and weak and ignoble, and toiling under a load. Such men were, before the Coming of Christ: soiled by every passion, unreasoning, without sense in their speech, foolish in their neglect of God — for what greater folly than to despise their Creator as though He were a creature, and to adore the work of their own hands, as if it were their Maker — weak of soul; ignoble because, forgetful of their heavenly origin, they had become slaves of their passions and of the demons. Laden, because they suffered under the burden of pagan darkness and superstition, laid on them either by the demons or by the Pharisees. The ass was tied, that is, held by the chains of diabolical superstition, so that it had no freedom to go whither it willed. For before we can sin we have freedom of will, to follow or not after the will of the devil, according as we wish. But if we once have sinned we have bound ourselves to his service, and cannot free ourselves of our own power. As a ship with a broken helm is led hither and thither at the sway of the storm, so man, when he loses the aid of divine grace through sin, does not that which he wishes, but what the devil wishes. And if God does not deliver him by the strong hand of His mercy he will remain till death in the bonds of his sins. And so He commands His Disciples: Loose them, namely, by means of your teaching, and through your miracles: because all, Jews and Gentiles, have been freed by the Apostles. And bring them to me; that is, convert them to the blessedness of My Kingdom."

Let us follow Jesus, honoring Him as God and our Savior — submitting to His Will as we unite ourselves to Him in simplicity of life and poverty of spirit. As He freely set aside the riches and glories of this life (even when He could easily have enjoyed them) to espouse poverty, chastity, and obedience — so may we regulate our lives with the same simplicity, purity, and conformity to His Will.

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