We have arrived at Palm Sunday – the celebration of the glorious entry of Our Lord into the city of Jerusalem. This Feast as well as the Feast of Lazarus Saturday are extremely pertinent to our understanding of the coming Feast of Feasts, Pascha, for these feasts serve as a prelude to the solemn days of Holy Week.
This Sunday, the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent, is dedicated to the memory of St. Mary of Egypt. This Sunday we primarily deal with the theme of greatness in the light of the Orthodox Christian faith. It has been said, “If you wish greatness, seek truth and you will find both”.
We have reached the Third Sunday of the Great Fast, The Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross. In the mid point of Great Lent, the Church places before us the Cross of Christ, as a reminder for us to look ahead to our goal. The Cross is there for our refreshment and support, to encourage us to remain steadfast in our journey to the glorious Pascha of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today is the first Sunday of Great Lent, known as the Sunday of Orthodoxy. This Sunday is a very important reminder of the centrality of Christ in the Orthodox Church. This is a very significant Feast in which we Orthodox Christians reaffirm our confession of faith, in the words of the Synadikon of the Vespers of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. It is a day at the beginning of Great Lent, when we lift up Christ in both praise and glorification. It is a Feast in which we are entreated and called upon to honor Christ.
Today we in the Orthodox Church have arrived at the Sunday of Forgiveness or Cheesefare Sunday. The Gospel for this Sunday is Matthew 6:14-21, which speaks of the importance of Forgiveness and in another aspect, the importance of fasting, but not for show but rather for one’s own soul.
This Sunday we celebrate the Great Feast of Palm Sunday, the Triumphal Entrance of Christ into the city of Jerusalem. Christ enters the city as King with the people holding in their hands Palm branches fit for a true King of old, but this is the Christ who comes triumphantly and comes voluntarily to die.