The Synaxarion of Palm Sunday.
On this day, Palm Sunday, we celebrate the bright and glorious feast of the Entrance of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.
After the raising of Lazarus from the dead, many people who witnessed this event believed in Christ. Moreover, a decree was passed by the council of the Jews to have both Christ and Lazarus killed. Therefore, giving place to their wickedness, Jesus withdrew. The Jews, for their part, made plans to kill Him during the Feast of the Passover. Having stayed away for a long time in the wilderness near Ephraim, six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany to the house of Lazarus, who had been dead. There at supper, Lazarus ate with Him, and his sister Mary poured ointment on Christ's feet. Since Lazarus had been raised from the dead, numerous Jews had forsaken the lifeless synagogue and believed in Jesus. In the future, these would be recognized as the first Christians. At this time, the Jews were divided between those who wished Christ dead and were planning His death and those who acknowledged Him as the Messiah.
The next day, Jesus sent his Disciples to bring an ass and a colt. And He, who has heaven as a throne, entered Jerusalem seated on a colt. Meanwhile, the children of the Jews spread their garments and branches of trees on the road before Him. Others cut branches and others held them in their hands, going before Him shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!" (John 12:13). This took place because the All-Holy Spirit moved their tongues in praise and exaltation of Christ.
By using palms (in Hebrew, the tender branch is called vaion, a palm branch), they were signifying Christ's imminent victory over death. For it was the custom to honor the victors of contests or battles with triumphal processions and to lead them around with branches from evergreens. The meaning of Hosanna is "Save now, we pray" or "Therefore, save." The colt prefigured us, the Gentiles. The ass's colt was still an untamed animal and impure according to the Jewish law. Christ's sitting and resting on the "Gentiles" showed our taming and obedience to the "law" of the Holy Gospel and Christ as Champion, Victor, and King of all the earth.
Today we not only welcome the Lord riding on a colt into the city of Jerusalem, but Christ who comes in power and glory as King of the age to come. Yet this King comes in meekness and, humility, much different from the triumphal entry of earthly rulers. The multitudes beheld a man riding an ass's colt into the earthly city of Jerusalem to be proclaimed "King of the Jews" – Liberator from the Roman yoke. The Church sees the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, entering the heavenly Jerusalem to establish His eternal reign, after His self-emptying Crucifixion and soul-saving Resurrection.
The Prophet Zechariah was speaking about this feast when he said, "Fear not, О daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, sitting on an ass's colt" (Zech. 9:9). And the Holy Prophet David spoke about the children, saying, "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings. You have perfected praise" (Ps. 8:2).
When Christ entered Jerusalem, all the city was in an uproar. In retaliation, the wicked Jewish High Priests instigated the crowds to kill Him. But Jesus evaded them, both hiding and then appearing, speaking to them in parables.
By Your ineffable compassion, О Christ our God,
make us victorious over the irrational passions,
and count us worthy to see Your manifest victory over death
and Your joyous and Life-bearing Resurrection,
and have mercy on us and save us.
The Synaxarion of the Lenten Triodion and the Pentecostarion, ed. Fr David (Kidd) and Mother Gabriella (Ursache), Rives Junction, MI: HDM, 1999, pp. 113-115.