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The Significance of Hosanna In Our Lives
(His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos is the Metropolitan of Mumbai (India) Diocese. He is currently serving as the President of National Council of Churches in India, Maharashtra Council of Churches, Bishop Vice President of MGOCSM, and President of St. Gregorios Society.)
At times, especially when I am freely traveling I find pleasure in remembering my childhood days. In those days we the children were very anxiously waiting for certain occasions like the Hosanna Perunnal etc. They were the days of great enjoyment, thrill and wonderful experiences. On the eve of Hosanna we the children used to move around the village to collect flowers of different colors, brands and smells and to arrange them for Hosanna. The enthusiasm, eagerness and enjoyment of children of those days cannot be explained in words. It was so splendid, magnificent and marvelous. The children born and brought up out side Kerala will not get a chance to enjoy like this. Still they have got the chance to learn from their parents by asking how they had celebrated the festivals like this. So let children ask their parents/elders without fail, “how was the celebration of the Palm Sunday of those days”? When they would explain, all children must try to imitate them as far as you could. Children, you must enquire not only about the Palm Sunday, but also about the observance of other festivals and rituals too. I am indeed happy to learn that our children in outside India are also not behind in collecting, arranging and offering flowers for Hosanna. I greatly appreciate it.
When our Lord Jesus Christ was only 12 years old, he had been to the Jerusalem temple. You must be remembering the events behind and ahead of it.
Even though he was young in age, he had engaged in teaching the Rabbis and Doctors of the religion. Later for the journey to the temple an ass was arranged as desired by our Lord and he rode on the ass as prophesied by Prophet Zechariah in his prophecy chapter 9: verse 9. We must have heard from so many that He liked simplicity and humbleness and that is why our Lord chose an ass for the ride. In fact our Lord was revealing the great truth that our Lord is the real shepherd as our Lord Himself has declared several times. Our Lord has explained that He is the shepherd who has come in search of the lost sheep of Israel. (Read St. Matthew 10:6, 12:12, St. John 10:16) As a matter of fact the Ass is the close companion of all shepherds. Whenever the shepherd would go with his flock to feed them, he often rides on the ass and when he misses one or more of his sheep, he rides on the ass in search of them. In short the shepherd keeps a very close relation with the Ass in rearing his flock of sheep. This is what our Lord meant when asked for the ass. Now let us sing the 23rd Psalm and worship Lord in the depth of it’s meaning, by learning that it is a prophecy about the shepherd, who is our Savior.
When our Lord designated his disciples to fetch the ass, He specifically says that none has so far traveled on the young ass. Why it is so? Our Lord establishes that if one would like to offer him or her for God’s disposal, he or she must entrust cent percent. God would like to have the faithful with cent percent submission. In St. Matthew 6: 4 and St. Luke 16:13 Christ our Lord says, “no man could serve two masters at a time”. When our Lord started his journey on top of the ass, many sincere and simple followers followed Him. Read St. Matthew 21: 8-10 to see what they did to honor Christ. When we would meditate on this portion, we must try to realize the greatness of the odoriferous flowers spread by the children and elders, as well as the purity and simplicity of the tender olive and palm leaves held by them. We must long anxiously to have the same blessings in our lives when we would celebrate the Hosanna by holding tender palm leaves and offering flowers.
While I travel across the globe, often I have meditated so many times the chanting of the multitude “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest” and used to get thrilled which is beyond words. I remember while I was a young boy, all Children of that time were very enthusiastic in throwing flowers up on Hosanna day. In those days we knew that we must throw flowers up when we hear “Hosanna” inside the Church or outside the Church (during the procession) and nothing more. But today I am sure about one thing. Children who were enthusiastic in throwing flowers for “Hosanna” in the past are remaining as inseparable from the relation to the holy body of Christ, the Holy Church.”
A great multitude was after Lord Jesus and they were shouting ‘Hosanna.’ From the multitude, a large number were Children. What is meant by Hosanna? The literal meaning of the term ‘Hosanna’ is ‘save us o Lord’. So it is sure that those who shouted Hosanna on that day of our Lord’s triumphant entry were so sure that our Lord is the real Savior. St. John 12:17 claims that “they” bore record of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Now we must think who is Jesus Christ for you and me. Actually our Lord is anxious to know our answer. He might ask us at any time the same question he asked to his disciples. (Refer. St. Matthew 16:15) We will have to answer such a question. The answer must be molded in the Sunday school classes as well as in the homely atmospheres. We have to make up our mind to answer, “ You are my Master, Lord and God the Savior”. Don’t forget that our Lord would be too happy to hear an answer from us as given above.
Our Lord wants you and me to be Asses to witness Him. But what would be our attitude and reaction? Have you ever thought of the qualities of Asses? Or do you think that the Ass has any quality. An ass has so many qualities as it never complaints about the weight it would carry and it never count the time for which the ass is engaged. Our Lord needs more and more faithful as his Asses to witness him and to continue His missions in this world, as stated earlier. His main task on earth is the search for the lost sheep. Even when we are continuing our normal but various walks of lives, we could be Asses for our Lord, provided we have the mind. We have to make up our mind to be an obedient ass for our Lord. The next point I would like to share with you all is about the attitude of our Lord that was expressed soon on entry into the temple. We are sure and certain about what had happened there. We must be cautious not to create such an occasion in our private or Church lives. As we all know the Passion Week starts with the Hosanna Perunnal and ends with the glorious Easter. We all are anxiously waiting to reach the Easter. Our expectations about Easter should not be limited to the external celebrations. Let us make use of the Easter for a total renewal and revival of our spirituality in the personal, family, and parish as well as Church levels.
A radical change could be implemented in all spheres from the individual level. So let us all sincerely long to have a drastic change in our spiritual lives. May our Lord enable us to have a bright and glorious spiritual life. I wish a very blessed Easter to all. We must experience the net result of our Hosanna celebrations on the Easter day. When we will declare, “He has risen indeed” let us feel the presence and indwelling of the resurrected Christ in our hearts. Let us be filled with the peace of resurrected Christ. May God Almighty shower His choicest blessings upon us all.
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