02 April 2007

Bishop Challenor on Palm Sunday

On our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem

Consider first, how the time now drawing near when our Saviour was to offer himself up a sacrifice for the sins of the world, he was pleased to come to the place where he was to complete this sacrifice; and as, in order to fulfil the ancient figures, he chose that very night for the institution of the Passover of the new Law, which was set aside for the immolation of the paschal lamb, in the old law, and that very day for the redemption of the world, in which God's people had formerly been redeemed from their Egyptian bondage; so also he was pleased to make his entry into Jerusalem in order to his sacrifice, on the very day on which by the appointment of the law, Exodus, xii, 3, the lamb was to be brought to town, which was to be sacrificed for the passover. Contemplate here, O Christian soul, the greatness of that love and charity for thee, which pushes thy Saviour forward on this occasion; see the joyful readiness with which he goes to offer up himself to death for the love of thee; admire and adore the dispositions of his providence, who was pleased that the glory of his birth should be hidden in the obscurity of a poor stable in little Bethlehem, whilst he chose for the ignominy of his Passion, the great theatre of Jerusalem, and the Paschal time, when the whole nation of the Jews was assembled thither.

Consider 2ndly, the manner in which our Lord was pleased to be received on this day by a solemn procession of the people, strewing their garments in the way, and bearing branches of palm-trees in their hands, to testify his victory over the prince of darkness, and accompanying him with loud acclamation and hosannas of joy, to honour him as their King and Messias. See, my soul if thou art in proper dispositions to join in this triumphal procession, and with a palm branch in thy hand, to celebrate the victory of the Lord over death, sin, and hell: alas! with what face canst thou attend him on this occasion if thou art still a slave to death, sin, and hell? Reflect also here on the inconstancy of the world, and how little account thou art to make of the esteem and applause of men, when thou seest how this same people, who on this day received our Lord with these loud hosannas, and acknowledged him for their King and their Saviour, five days after cried out, "Away with him, away with him, crucify him, crucify him!"

Consider 3rdly, the dispositions of the soul of our Redeemer in the midst of these honours and acclamations, and how little he is affected with them. See how upon this occasion he weeps over the unhappy Jerusalem, and over every impenitent soul that, like Jerusalem, takes no notice, "in this her day, of the things that are for her peace; but lets slip the time of her visitation." -- Luke, xix, 42, 44. Learn from his very triumph his love of poverty and his meekness, in the manner of his riding into Jerusalem upon an ass's colt. Give ear to the prophet, Zach. ix, 9, "Rejoice, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King will come to thee; the Just and the Saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass," &c. O see thou imitate his humility whilst rejoicing in his victory.

Conclude to honour the triumph of thy Saviour, in the best manner thou art able, in the procession of this day. Acknowledge him for thy King and Lord of thy heart, and invite him in thither. But see that sin and hell have no place there.

Bishop Challenor
Holy Week Meditations
St. Albans Books : 12
Society of SS. Peter and Paul
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