Eparchy of Our Lady Of Lebanon
St. Rafka Maronite
Hosanna Sunday April 9, 2017
“Hosanna to the Son of David, Blessed Is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!”
From the shouts of infants and babies, the Lord has established strength and power.
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ, today, we celebrate the week and the Sunday of Hosanna Sunday, also known as Palm Sunday and in Lebanese: “Eid El-Sha’neeneh” The Feast of the “Ho-sha’-na”.
This word “Ho-sha’-na” will be the key for this message. It means: “Lord Save Us” from Hebrew which became Hosanna in Greek. Lord Save us. These were the shouts of the people who received Jesus walking in to Jerusalem as King, the Son of David and Savior.
Earlier today I went up to the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Pines, out west in Conifer, Colorado. Once a month, on a Thursday, priests from various parishes are encouraged to meet together, to pray, and to share their work at their parishes and inside the Diocese and the Catholic Church in the USA and the World. As the meeting finished with more than 9 priests and pastors, while having lunch, the priests started talking about the importance of caring for the people, making the people feel the need to redemption and the interest the Church should show in the souls of the people.
In fact, Redemption and taking interest in the church are two key-actions and attitudes that every faithful person should have and grow, if the faithful person really knows the true identity of Jesus.
In the gospel of Matthew, chapter 16: 16, when Jesus asks his disciples who they say he is, Peter answers: “You are the Messiah (Christ), the Son of the Living God”. This statement of Peter defines the knowledge and the relationship that every Christian is to have with Jesus. It also defines the relationship of Jesus with his Divine Father in Heaven, and by the same token it reveals through the Holy Spirit, the Divine Plan of Salvation that the Holy Trinity has at work for us sinful and deadly humanity.
It is not easy to fully understand that over 2000 years ago, a fisherman, inspired by the Holy Spirit, makes such a courageous declaration of Faith, pronouncing a public act that was considered against the main stream religion in Judea at that time. For instance, who of us would go to Saudi Arabia and proclaim in public: “Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God”? This is how dangerous this profession of faith that reveals the identity of Jesus and the Plan of God the Father is. The consequence of such a profession of faith was never accepted at that time neither is it accepted today.
Consequently, amongst Christians themselves, we see divisions and people continuously distancing themselves away from the Church, from the Christian Faith, and from receiving the sacrament. This is sad and very frightening. It is a reason to be concerned and to ask the following question: “Who do I say that Jesus is?”
This is the meaning of Palm Sunday. It is the historical occasion in which thousands of people shouted in Jerusalem as a revolution for peace, a demonstration of hope, and a parade of love as Jesus was on his way to enter his City, as King, Savior and Son of the Living God: “Hosanna in the Highest, Blessed Is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord, Hosanna to the Son of David”.
In fact, if we try to replace the word “Hosanna” with its English meaning, we will be exclaiming the following: “Lord Save Us in the Highest, Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord, Lord Save Us is the Son of David”.
In Conclusion, I’d like us to start over: Who is Jesus for you? For me He is my Savior and the Son of God. This is why I became priest. This is why I encourage you to come to Church, to confess, to pray, to rejoice and be glad, and to exclaim the beauty of the Day of the Lord. It is a curse and sign of evil when people keep finding reasons to stay away from the Church. I feel bad for such people because they do not know that, unless we are at Church, our salvation and our hope for the forgiveness of sins, becomes harder. The Church, for all diplomatic reasons in the world, no longer stresses the importance of coming to Church in order to be saved. However, the reality in fact remains unchangeable: The Church is the spouse of Christ. It is his Mystical body. The Church must remain the community of the Faithful who shouts from generation to generation: HOSANNA, (Lord Save Us), Blessed Is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord! HOSANNA (Lord Save Us), to the Son of David!”
Happy and Blessed HOSANNA Sunday.
Fr Andre Y Sebastian Mahanna