Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal

Passion Week, Palm Sunday Special

Volume 5 No. 274 March 29, 2015

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Jesus expelling moneychangers in Temple
Jesus expelling money changers. Painting by Nicolas Colombel - 1682
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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1. Foreword

"Shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king is coming to you; a just savior is he, meek and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass"... What does that mean? He does not come in splendor like every other king. He comes in the condition of a servant, of a loving bridegroom, a most gentle lamb, a dewdrop on the fleece, a sheep led to the slaughter, an innocent lamb taken to sacrifice... Today the children of the Hebrews run before him, offering their olive branches to him who is merciful and, with joy, welcoming death's conqueror with palms. "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" ...

Palm Sunday (Hosanna) in Church

2. Bible Readings for Palm Sunday (March 29)

3. Sermons for Palm Sunday (March 29)

Sermons for Palm Sunday
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_Palm-Sunday.htm

4. Malankara World Passion Week Supplement

Malankara World has a supplement that provides detailed information about Passion Week including articles, prayers, sermons, etc. You will find it here:

Passion Week Supplement in Malankara World
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lent/Passion/Default.htm

Malankara World has developed a daily plan of bible readings, meditations, reflections, and prayers for Passion Week. You will find it here:

Today in Passion Week
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lent/Passion/Passion_Today_archives.htm

Features

5. The Triumphal Entry

Today, Palm Sunday, marks the beginning of of Passion Week. It starts with Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem, where a hero's welcome awaits him. The streets are lined with people waving palm branches and singing. They're ready for him to be their King - but Jesus' purpose is far more significant than gaining political status and power. ...

6. Palm Sunday: The King Comes to Jerusalem

The Triumphal Entry also highlights important truths about both humanity and God. It painfully illuminates the fickle nature of the human heart; the city that eagerly embraced Jesus one day would be calling for his death just a short while later. And it reminds us that God often fulfills His promises in ways we don't expect: here was Israel's promised king, but riding on a donkey, not the noble warhorse one might expect. He was a king, but not the one Jerusalem thought it needed - instead of liberating them from Roman oppression through military might, Jesus intended to liberate his people from the oppression of sin… by sacrificing himself. God fulfilled His promise but confounded human assumptions about how He would do so. ...

7. A Week Made Holy

Pope John Paul II said of this week: "The celebration of Holy Week begins with the "Hosanna!" of Palm Sunday and culminates in the "Crucify Him!" of Good Friday."

From palms and praise to tragedy and back to glory, the drama and emotions of this week run high. The lessons of this week are profound. We hear of a triumphal entry to Jerusalem. Certainly shades of the Messiah are on the minds of people. Here's the one who will set us free. Not from the Romans, however, but from the slavery of sin with the hope of eternal life. He will provide the framework of how to live by truth, beauty and goodness. ...

8. Journey to Calvary

Today, Palm Sunday, we fall in behind the Master as He makes His way to Jerusalem, the place of sacrifice, the place of expiation and of atonement. Jesus invites us to share His journey, to travel with Him along the way of the Cross: He invites us to go with Him, to keep company with Him as He makes His Passover to the Father and the Kingdom - opening the way for us to follow Him there.

The excitement of the first Palm Sunday was brief: the interest it aroused short-lived - a few days later everybody had forgotten all about it: indeed the 'Hosannas' of Palm Sunday by Friday morning would be replaced by the recriminations of a mob howling frenziedly for blood. ...

9. Your King Is Coming to You: Reflections on Hosanna

He is a different kind of king. He makes no display of his great power. He makes a display of his humility, his poverty, and his lowliness. When the King of kings comes he does not come to humiliate you, he does not come to remind you of your inferior status, your inferior standing, and your inferior power. That is why he comes devoid of power, without any army, not displaying any wealth. He comes in poverty. He comes on a donkey.

He is a different kind of king. He does not come to be served, but to serve. ...

10. Pope Francis Urges Christians to Have Joy Over Cross

Pope Francis reflected on three elements in his Palm Sunday homily: the joy that comes from meeting and knowing Christ; the fact that Jesus entered Jerusalem to redeem the world with his loving sacrifice on the Cross; and that young people can teach everyone to embrace the Cross with joy and to live lives of self-sacrifice. ...

11. Recipe: Pesaha Appam Recipes

Pesaha Appam (Southern Kerala)

Pesaha Appam (INRI appam)

Recipe for Pesaha Appam

12. About Malankara World

Foreword
Today is Palm Sunday, the first day of the Passion Week. (Technically, we include 40th Friday and Lazarus Saturday  in the Passion week; but the first day of the "week" [7th Sunday of Great Lent] is Palm Sunday.) Jesus enters Jerusalem as a King, with a huge crowd following him. In a matter of few days, he will be left alone and the same crowd will shout, "crucify him." What an irony and change of public opinion in such a short period of time!

We have a saying in Kerala:

"Laugh and you will have 1000 people to laugh with you;
Cry and you will have only your shadow to cry with you."

I heard an American version of this recently:

"Laugh and the world will laugh with you;
Cry and your mascara runs."
(A television anchor woman said this; that may explain the 'mascara')

When Jesus was "captured", all the disciples fled. Only St. John had the courage to stay with him to the end. We know from later history that all 11 of the Christ's disciples had violent deaths. Only one who didn't was St. John. Was the fact that he didn't abandon Jesus had anything to do with that?

Some churches, notably Catholic Church, read the whole story of Passion today in church. In Syriac Orthodox Church, we do that on Good Friday Service where we read the passion undergone by Jesus hour by hour starting at the Garden of Gethsemane. I may be prejudiced; but I prefer to hear the Passion Story on Good Friday rather than on Palm Sunday. Let us celebrate Jesus as the King on this day; reflect on what Jesus went through on that day with our procession with everyone repeating after the priest,

"Hosanna!
'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David
That comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
- Mark 11:9-10, Luke 19:38 (NKJV)

After the service, we take the palm leaves home and decorate our houses with it. It stays there till next Christmas when it is burned in the firepit.

When I was a boy, all the kids used to go to the priest with great excitement when he distributed the palm leaves. We examine the leaf we got very carefully. If we got a palm leaf with no blemish on it, it is considered very lucky. Our faces light up when we see a perfect leaf. These days many people does not even take the palm leaves home; they leave it at church for safekeeping.

Let us listen to what Saint Cyril of Alexandria (380-444), Doctor of the Church, had to say about the significance of Hosanna (Palm Sunday):

"Hosanna ! Blessed is the Kingdom that is to come!" (Mk 11:9-10)

Brethren, let us celebrate today the coming of our King, let us go before him since he is also our God... Let us lift up our hearts to God and not quench our spirits, let us light our lamps with joy and change the clothing of our souls. Let us take palms in our hands like victors and, like the common people, acclaim him with the crowd. With the children let us sing with a childlike heart: "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"... On this very day he enters Jerusalem; the cross is made ready once more, Adam's bond is obliterated; once more paradise is opened and the thief is taken in; once more the Church makes festival...

He is not coming accompanied by the invisible powers of heaven and legions of angels; nor is he seated on a throne lifted high and raised up, overshadowed by the wings of seraphim, with a chariot of fire and beings with numerous eyes, making everything shake with terrifying displays and the sound of trumpets. He comes concealed in human nature. It is a coming of goodness, not justice; of pardon, not reprisal. He appears, not in his Father's glory but in his mother's humility. Zechariah, the prophet, foretold this coming in former times; he summoned all creation to rejoice...: "Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion!" It was the very word the Archangel Gabriel had declared to the Virgin: "Rejoice!...", the same message, too, that our Savior announced to the holy women after his resurrection: "Rejoice"...

"Shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king is coming to you; a just savior is he, meek and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass"... What does that mean? He does not come in splendor like every other king. He comes in the condition of a servant, of a loving bridegroom, a most gentle lamb, a dewdrop on the fleece, a sheep led to the slaughter, an innocent lamb taken to sacrifice... Today the children of the Hebrews run before him, offering their olive branches to him who is merciful and, with joy, welcoming death's conqueror with palms. "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"

(Biblical references : 1Th 5,19; Mt 25,7; Mt 21,15; Col 2,14; Lk 23,43; Ez 1,4f.; Ex 19, 16s; Zec 9,9; Lk 1,28; Mt 28,9 Gk; Ph 2,7; Jn 1,29; Jg 6,37; Jr 11,19; Is 53,7)

Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World

Palm Sunday (Hosanna) in Church
Bible Readings for Palm Sunday (March 29)
Sermons for Palm Sunday (March 29)

Malankara World Passion Week Supplement

Malankara World has a supplement that provides detailed information about Passion Week including articles, prayers, sermons, etc. You will find it here:

Passion Week Supplement in Malankara World

Malankara World has developed a daily plan of bible readings, meditations, reflections, and prayers for Passion Week. Please click on the link below for the day to read the reflection for that day.

Palm Sunday

Passion Monday

Passion Tuesday

Passion Wednesday

Maundy Thursday

Good Friday

Gospel Saturday

Easter

Malankara World Journal Specials for Palm Sunday:

MW Journal Issue 210 - Palm Sunday (April 2014)

MW Journal Issue 132 - Passion Week Special 2 - Palm Sunday

MW Journal Issue 67 - Holy Week Special - 1 (40th Fri/Lazarus Sat/Palm Sunday)

Features

The Triumphal Entry
The final week of Jesus' ministry covers a wide range of emotions and events. We see Jesus overturning tables in the temple; people hanging on Christ's every word; cloak-and-dagger deals made to kill the Messiah; and fervent 11th-hour prayers offered. But before any of that happens, Jesus must first get to Jerusalem.

Today, Palm Sunday, marks the beginning of of Passion Week. It starts with Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem, where a hero's welcome awaits him. The streets are lined with people waving palm branches and singing. They're ready for him to be their King - but Jesus' purpose is far more significant than gaining political status and power.

Take a few minutes today to read the four Gospel accounts of the Triumphal Entry and try to imagine what it would have been like to be standing and singing in that crowd:

  • Matthew 21:1-11
  • Luke 19:28-41
  • Mark 11:1-11
  • John 12:12-18

Source: Bible Gateway

Palm Sunday: The King Comes to Jerusalem
Today is Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, we commemorate Jesus' celebrated entry into Jerusalem just a few days before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion.

The "palm" in Palm Sunday refers to the palm branches waved by the adoring Jerusalem crowds who welcomed Jesus and proclaimed him King. The event is commonly referred to as the Triumphal Entry. Here's the account from Matthew 21:1-11:

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away."

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

"Say to Daughter Zion,
'See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'"

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

"Hosanna to the Son of David!"
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?"

The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."

The Triumphal Entry is also described in the other three Gospels; see Mark 11:1-11, John 12:12-19, and Luke 19:28-44. While each account tells the same story, each provides a few unique details that, taken together, give us a complete picture of the event.

On the surface, the celebratory events of Palm Sunday make it an unusual starting point for the Easter story. Jesus' arrival on a lowly donkey might seem almost as strange to us today as it did to the crowds who witnessed it. But Palm Sunday sets the stage for the grim events of Easter in several important ways.

Most importantly, Jesus' triumphant entry made abundantly clear Jesus' claim to be the promised Messiah and Savior. The seemingly odd choice of a donkey as a mount was a specific fulfillment of a prophecy in the Old Testament book of Zechariah, as the account above notes:

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Although Jesus' contemporaries often struggled to make the connection, this was more evidence to anyone with "eyes to see and ears to hear" that He was the long-awaited Savior.

The Triumphal Entry also highlights important truths about both humanity and God. It painfully illuminates the fickle nature of the human heart; the city that eagerly embraced Jesus one day would be calling for his death just a short while later. And it reminds us that God often fulfills His promises in ways we don't expect: here was Israel's promised king, but riding on a donkey, not the noble warhorse one might expect. He was a king, but not the one Jerusalem thought it needed - instead of liberating them from Roman oppression through military might, Jesus intended to liberate his people from the oppression of sin… by sacrificing himself. God fulfilled His promise but confounded human assumptions about how He would do so.

Read the story of the Triumphal Entry and try to imagine what it would've been like to witness it in person. The darkness of the crucifixion looms on the horizon, but this is an occasion of celebration nonetheless - the promised king has revealed himself at last to his people.

A Week Made Holy

by Fr. Tim

Pope John Paul II said of this week: "The celebration of Holy Week begins with the "Hosanna!" of Palm Sunday and culminates in the "Crucify Him!" of Good Friday."

From palms and praise to tragedy and back to glory, the drama and emotions of this week run high. The lessons of this week are profound. We hear of a triumphal entry to Jerusalem. Certainly shades of the Messiah are on the minds of people. Here's the one who will set us free. Not from the Romans, however, but from the slavery of sin with the hope of eternal life. He will provide the framework of how to live by truth, beauty and goodness.

On Holy Thursday we hear of the great command of Jesus after he had washed the feet of his Apostles during that fateful night of his Last Supper: "As I have done for you, you should also do" (Jn 13:15). It is humility, self-sacrificing love, and service to one another after the example of Jesus that will bring a transformation of hearts. If we want to know what the purpose of following Christ may be, he could not have shown us, short of the cross itself, a more noteworthy example as he slavishly washed his Apostles' feet. God washed their feet! Philippians 2:7 tells us, "He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness . . .".

And then the Lord gives us something to remember – his very Body and Blood in the Eucharist while he commissions his Apostles to: "Do this in remembrance of me." Thus, the ministerial priesthood is born and the dice are cast for the tragedy about to begin that night.

So, on Good Friday, made "good" by Jesus' own act of self-surrender "even to the point of death, death on a cross . . . (Phil 2: 8), we stand at the foot of his cross and reflect. But, we know that all will end in the glory of Easter Sunday and the birth of new life in the Church when we proclain, "He is Risen."

Let this week be more than just liturgical entertainment. Put together, these Holy Week liturgies provide quite a show, actually. Yet, as one parishioner told me, "This is my Church week."

We are invited to enter into the mystery and the profound significance of this week – which is ultimately our faith itself. This is the week of good news indeed!

Journey to Calvary

by Fr. Eric Simmons

The account of Jesus as we have it in the Gospels is basically built around journeys and journeying. Jesus and His inner circle of followers are depicted as travelers; of no fixed abode; on the move.

In the beginning the journeys are local to Galilee, particularly to the villages and towns around the Lake, with an occasional excursion further afield. These are the early days, and the mood is confident and sunny. There are the parables - Jews love to tell and hear stories - there are the pithy, memorable sayings, the miracles, and a lot of talk about the Kingdom, what it is like, and how to enter it. There are the crowds, the mounting excitement, the cut and thrust of debate with the religious authorities - another popular entertainment: Jews like a good discussion.

But then it changes. It seems that perhaps Jesus begins to realise that this is not what ultimately He is meant to be about and that something other, something altogether more radical and subversive, is required of Him if He is to witness to the truth of the Father's unconditional love for humankind. In the second of the Gospel narratives Jesus withdraws from the crowds, lowers His public profile, and spends more time with the disciples on their own: there are fewer miracles now, fewer parables, and instead of speaking about the Kingdom, He talks about a death - His own death - He speaks of things which human beings do not care to talk about or hear: about failure and humiliation, about treachery cowardice and fear, about being pushed to the margins, to the edge of things, and dying as a criminal. The Cross begins to cast its long shadow across the sunlit hills of Galilee.

It is not surprising that the disciples cannot take this kind of talk, and they protest vigorously. They want the Galilean days to continue, the crowds, the popularity, the wonderful stories, the laughter, the signs and mighty works. But Jesus sternly rebukes them, and insists that there is a task to be undertaken, a destiny to be fulfilled, a ransom to be paid, burdens to be eased and lifted, and chains to be broken. His hand is set to the plough, and there can be no looking back, only going forward, a journey to be made. And so the journey to Jerusalem.

St Luke, in his account of the things concerning Jesus, marks this change of mood with a striking phrase. He writes: 'When the days drew near for Him to be taken up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem'. There is an unmistakable solemnity about the way he puts it. The moment is significant, awesome.

And St Mark in his Gospel gives us in a vivid miniature something of the mood of that journey to Jerusalem. He tells us that 'they were on the road going to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed' (a favourite word of Mark's, meaning something akin to profound dismay), and those who followed were afraid. They were frightened; they sensed impending disaster, sensed that something was closing in on them, some nameless dread, something that they did not understand. And Jesus walks ahead of them alone. Sent by the Father, He goes to His Passion in the loneliness of His spirit.

A journey. St John begins his account of the Passion with that very same image, seeing the whole of Our Lord's life in the flesh as a journey. 'Now before the Passover,' he writes, 'Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father [...] knowing that He had come from GOD and was going to GOD.'

And today, Palm Sunday, we fall in behind the Master as He makes His way to Jerusalem, the place of sacrifice, the place of expiation and of atonement. Jesus invites us to share His journey, to travel with Him along the way of the Cross: He invites us to go with Him, to keep company with Him as He makes His Passover to the Father and the Kingdom - opening the way for us to follow Him there.

The excitement of the first Palm Sunday was brief: the interest it aroused short-lived - a few days later everybody had forgotten all about it: indeed the 'Hosannas' of Palm Sunday by Friday morning would be replaced by the recriminations of a mob howling frenziedly for blood.

Once more in Word and Sacrament, in Liturgy and Symbol, in Music and in Silence, the drama of Holy Week unfolds around us.

But we are not meant to be merely awe-struck spectators of these things, standing reverently at a distance. Jesus invites us to go with Him, to be with Him, to learn His way of loving, who 'having loved His own who were in the world, loved them to the end' ... 'to the end', for that is love's will; that is love's way; 'to the end', for that is is love's endeavour, love's expense: the Triumph and the Tragedy.

It is significant that in St Mark's Gospel the last miracle takes place just before Palm Sunday. It is the healing of blind Bartimaeus. The Evangelist tells us that having received his sight he 'followed Jesus on the way'.

GOD grant to us that our sight may be fully given to us, that the 'eyes of our heart' may be opened, that the heart's vision may be unsealed, that we may see the Lord in His Passion and follow Him in His way of loving.

Source: LSM

Your King Is Coming to You: Reflections on Hosanna

by Sigurd Grindheim

Gospel: Matt 21:1-11

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, 'The Lord needs them.' And he will send them immediately." This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,

"Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,

"Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, "Who is this?" The crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee."
-Matt 21:1-11 (TNIV)

In Norway, the country that I come from, we still have a king. Even though he does not have any real power, he is formally the leader of our nation. In that way he provides a feeling of stability and dignity to our government. No matter who the Prime Minister is, the king is always the same. He represents our country abroad, and he has an important ceremonial role at home. All new laws, even though they are decided by our Parliament, have to be signed by the king. No law is valid unless the king has signed it. No major decision made by our government is legally binding until it has the king's signature. Formally, the king is the head of our country.

For everybody else, the highest honor that we can ever aspire to is a formal recognition by the king. When someone accomplishes something truly remarkable they may be granted an audience with the king. They receive a formal invitation to visit him in his royal palace. Before they go they have to buy some new clothes, the finest clothes available, and they have to study all the rules of etiquette for how to behave when you are in the presence of the king. You have to address him as Your Royal Highness, and you have to let him direct the conversation.

Not many people are ever granted this honor. Graduates of the university, for example, if they have performed exceptionally well, may receive such a formal invitation from the king. As for me, I have never been invited to see the king of Norway. But there remains a small possibility that if I accomplish something truly great in the course of my lifetime that it will be noticed by the king of my country and I will receive the formal invitation to see my king in his palace. But no matter what I do, I can tell you that there is one thing that is never going to happen. The king of Norway is never going to come knocking on my door, asking for an audience with me.

In our text for today we meet a different kind of king.

First of all, we meet a king whose power by far exceeds that of any other king. Not only do we meet a king with real power to make people do his bidding; we meet a king who controls every little detail that takes place in the entire universe. When he sends out his disciples to find the donkey for him to ride into Jerusalem he already knows what is going to happen. He tells them: "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me." Jesus knows every little movement that every little donkey in the world is making. Wherever they are wandering, slowing down traffic on the roads of Addis Ababa or grazing around the hills outside Jerusalem, he knows about them. He knows about the little donkey that the disciples will run into, before it happens.

He also knows that someone will ask the disciples why they are taking this donkey and her colt, and he instructs the disciples simply to tell them that "the Lord needs them." Jesus now makes it clear that he is the Lord of the donkey, as he is the Lord of the whole universe. In the Bible, "Lord" is the name for God, as he is the only true lord. He is the only one whose lordship never ends, the only one who does not depend on anyone else to remain in power, the only one who is truly lord.

Jesus shares the name of his Father, just as he shares his majesty and power. That is why he refers to himself as the Lord and that is why the apostle John calls him "Lord of lords and King of kings" (Rev 16:14; 20:16).

When the lord of lords and the king of kings is preparing to enter his city, Jerusalem, what would be a fitting way for him to make his entrance?

The way a ruler would enter a city could tell you a lot about him and his status. The famous Greek author Plutarch vividly describes how the Roman general Aemilius Paulus made his entrance into the city of Rome. Aemilius had won a decisive victory over the rebellious Macedonians. His victory was so complete that he had captured the king of Macedonia, and led him back to Rome as a prisoner of war, together with thousands of other prisoners and an abundance of plunder that had been taken from the Macedonians.

When Aemilius entered Rome, Plutarch tells us, his triumphant procession through the city lasted no less than three days. The first day was dedicated to carrying around Rome all the artwork that Aemilius and his army had looted from Macedonia. The second day they displayed all the weapons of the Macedonians. When the day finally came for Aemilius himself to make his glorious entrance he was preceded by 250 oxen, whose horns were covered in gold. Afterwards came the vessels carrying the gold coins that had been taken, according to Plutarch no less than 7,700 kg or 17,000 pounds. Following all the plunder, Aemilius had the king of Macedonia and his extended family parade through the city of Rome, having to endure the shame of their complete defeat by the Roman general. With such a demonstration of his power and might, Aemilius himself entered Rome, mounted on a chariot with glorious adornments. He wore a purple robe, interwoven with gold, and he carried his laurels in his right hand. Accompanying him, he had a whole choir, who would sing hymns, praising the military victories of the great Aemilius. A show worthy of a man of consequence.

Who can top such a performance? The Lord of lords and King of kings. He comes on a donkey.

The donkey is not a very pompous animal. It is not very awe-inspiring. It is utilitarian. It is a work animal, not a party animal. It is not very expensive, not something you associate with wealth and riches. It is the animal for common people. Jesus, however, did not even come riding on his own donkey. He had to find a donkey that belonged to somebody else. When the King of kings comes to his city he comes in poverty, as the prophet had said:

"Tell the daughter of Zion, look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

He is a different kind of king. He makes no display of his great power. He makes a display of his humility, his poverty, and his lowliness. When the King of kings comes he does not come to humiliate you, he does not come to remind you of your inferior status, your inferior standing, and your inferior power. That is why he comes devoid of power, without any army, not displaying any wealth. He comes in poverty. He comes on a donkey.

He is a different kind of king. He does not come to be served, but to serve.

That is why, when he comes, he does not come to create a distance between himself and his people. He comes to create nearness. He comes in poverty and humility. He does not demand of us that we stretch ourselves to the uttermost, so that perhaps we can be deemed worthy of meeting him. He comes to meet us. Your king is coming to you, the prophet said. Your king is coming to you.

As he had done so many times in his life. As he had come to the tax collector Zacchaeus, the traitor to his people, the man who had gotten rich by extorting money from his fellow men. Jesus sought him out. And came to his house. "I must stay at your house today," Jesus had told him.

As he had come to the sick man who lay at the pool by the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem. He had been sick for 38 years. He believed that he could be healed if he made it into the pool when it was stirred up, but after 38 years he was still waiting, blaming his misfortune on the fact that there was no one to help him. Jesus sought him out. And made him well.

As he had come to the Samaritan woman by the well, the sinful woman who could not stand being together with her neighbors, because of her shame. She avoided the company of other women and preferred to come to the well in the heat of the day. Jesus sought her out. And came to her.

I must confess that I often feel like this Samaritan woman at the well. Because of my sinfulness, I am too ashamed to face other people. But Jesus seeks me out. He comes to give me the living water.

Today, your king is coming to you. Not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Your king is coming, not with demand, but with sacrifice.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, he came as the king. And he wore royal clothes. Just like Aemilius on his way into Rome wore a purple robe, so was Jesus clothed in a purple robe when he entered Jerusalem. By his executioners. They also put a crown on his head when they hailed him as king. A crown of thorns.

The Roman soldiers meant to mock, humiliate, and ridicule Jesus. What kind of king was this? A humiliated king, just like the king of the Macedonians, whom Aemilius had led in chains to Rome. But the soldiers did not know that in their brutality they were fulfilling the will of the king they were torturing. In their mockery, they were announcing the truth of God: here stands the king of kings. A different kind of king. A king whose crown is made of thorns. A king whose glory is the shame heaped upon him by his torturers. A king whose throne is a cross.

He is a different kind of king. His rule is a different kind of rule. It is the rule of love. It is not the rule of coercion and force. It is the rule of sacrifice.

Jesus is winning his subjects, not by force and by suppression, but by going to die for them. He is not the king who asks what you can do for your country, he is the king who does for you what you could never do for yourself. He is the king who gives himself to you. He is the king who gives his life for you.

One of the many stories that circulates about the late Norwegian king Olav is about an interview he gave to a foreign journalist. The journalist had noticed that the king did not have any bodyguards and he asked him why. But I do have bodyguards, the king answered, I have 4 million of them. That was the population of Norway at the time. King Olav was a popular king.

Jesus is a different kind of king. He does not have any subjects as bodyguards. He is the bodyguard of his subjects. He is the one who takes the fall for all his people. He gives his life, so we can live.

When he enters Jerusalem the people cheer: "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

"Hosanna in the highest heaven!" The word Hosanna comes from the Hebrew text of Ps 118:25, where the people cry to the Lord: save us. As Psalm 118 was used in connection with the festivals in Jerusalem, the word Hosanna became an expression of praise. When the crowds were greeting Jesus by shouting Hosanna, they were greeting him as the savior that God would send to his people. They were receiving him as their promised Messiah.

But the Hosanna cheers were only the prelude. The cheers would soon change to angry shouts: "crucify him, crucify him!"

Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem was his triumphant entrance. But he is a different kind of king and his triumph is a different kind of triumph. Jesus triumphs by going to the cross. His victory is his death.

The apostle John describes how the heavenly assembly is singing about the victory of the king of kings: "you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth" (Rev 5:9-10).

Today, your king is coming to you. Not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Your king is coming, not with demand, but with sacrifice. Not with a request, but with a gift.

When your king is coming to you today he comes to tell you that he has given you his own life. He has died in your place and he is giving you life as a gift.

Your king is coming to you.

© Sigurd Grindheim

Pope Francis Urges Christians to Have Joy Over Cross
Pope Francis declared on Palm Sunday (2013) that Christians must not be sad or discouraged but filled with joy because Jesus conquered evil and every sin "with the force of God's love."

"Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God's love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection.

Dear friends, we can all conquer the evil that is in us and in the world: with Christ, with the force of good!"

Pope Francis reflected on three elements in his Palm Sunday homily: the joy that comes from meeting and knowing Christ; the fact that Jesus entered Jerusalem to redeem the world with his loving sacrifice on the Cross; and that young people can teach everyone to embrace the Cross with joy and to live lives of self-sacrifice.

The first word that came to the Pope's mind as he reflected on the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem was joy.

"Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement!

"Ours is not a joy that comes from having many possessions, but from having encountered a Person: Jesus, from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life's journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable," he said.

The Pope then turned to his second point of reflection – the way Jesus entered Jerusalem, as a king who was received "by humble people, simple folk."

But even more, he entered "to receive a crown of thorns, a staff, a purple robe: his kingship becomes an object of derision.

"And this brings us to the second word: Cross. Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to die on the Cross.

"And it is here that his kingship shines forth in godly fashion: his royal throne is the wood of the Cross," he underscored.

What Jesus did, Pope Francis said, was to take upon himself "the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including our own sin," and cleanse it "with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God."

He then recalled how the world is filled with the effects of evil and sin:

"Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation! And our personal sins: our failures in love and respect towards God, towards our neighbor and towards the whole of creation."

In the face of all this, he asked, "Do we feel weak, inadequate, powerless?"

"But," he responded, "God is not looking for powerful means: it is through the Cross that he has conquered evil! We must not believe the Evil One when he tells us: you can do nothing to counter violence, corruption, injustice, your sins!"

"We must never grow accustomed to evil!" he insisted.

"With Christ," he declared, "we can transform ourselves and the world. We must bear the victory of Christ's Cross to everyone everywhere, we must bear this great love of God."

Pope Francis dedicated his final words to the youth.

"Dear young people," he said, you have "an important part in the celebration of faith! You bring us the joy of faith and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart, always, even at the age of seventy or eighty."

"And you are not ashamed of his Cross! On the contrary, you embrace it, because you have understood that it is in giving ourselves that we have true joy and that God has conquered evil through love," he told the youth.

Source: CNA/EWTN News

Recipe: Pesaha Appam Recipes

by Dr. Shila Mathew, MD., Food and Living Editor, Malankara World

Pesaha Appam (Southern Kerala)

Pesaha Appam (INRI appam)

Recipe for Pesaha Appam

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