During the traditional Palm Sunday procession, Patriarch Daniel spoke to the believers noting that ‘all humans are passengers for here they do not have an enduring city, being oriented towards the Kingdom of Heaven.‘
‘How much light we have spread, how many flowers of faith we have cultivated, how many flowers of charity we have spiritually offered,’ is what truly matters when we leave this earthly life, the Patriarch said.
Thousands of believers and hundreds of priests, deacons, and monastics attended the Palm Sunday Procession in Bucharest that took place on the eve of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem, March 31.
In his homily, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel pointed to the meanings of the procession saying it is a remembrance of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem, and a profession of the faith in Jesus Christ.
He also noted that going in procession can strengthen fraternal, spiritual communion between parishes and monasteries.
According to His Beatitude, the Palm Sunday procession is a blessing for the city where it is organized, especially through the prayers for the blessing of the Palm branches, of the festal icon, and of pilgrims.
Referring to pilgrimage, the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church said it represents ‘a profession of our faith and love of God’, noting that through their sacrifice pilgrims become Christ’s friends, just like Lazarus who was raised from the dead.
The patriarch insisted that Jesus Christ wept in front of the tomb of Lazarus, saying that ‘Jesus weeps at the death of each and every one of us who become His friends through the faith in Him, through prayers addressed to Him, through our friendship and obedience toward Him.’
The Primate of the Romanian Church explained that ‘the raising of people from the dead is not a natural phenomenon like the blooming of spring flowers. It is the exclusive gift of God to all humanity. It is a gift, not a given; a gift He will offer to all humans at the end of history.’
Patriarch Daniel also reflected on the difference between the universal resurrection and the raising of Lazarus.
The resurrection that Christ will give to all at the end of the ages, the Patriarch of Romania said, differs from the raising of Lazarus because he was brought back to the earthly biological life, but after a while he died as all men die.
However, the universal resurrection that Christ will grant us at the end of ages will be identical to His own Resurrection from the dead. It will be an eternal deliverance from death, from decay, from this old earth. It will mark the entry into the new heaven and the new earth.
His Beatitude noted that the belief in resurrection that was prefigured by the miracle of raising Lazarus ‘allows Christians to know that the love of God and their neighbours is stronger than death, sin, hell, malice, and violence.’
The Patriarch stressed that resurrection is nothing else but ‘Christ Himself who is the resurrection and the life.’
‘The resurrection is Christ Himself who grants us His life, because Christ’s resurrection does not mean the return to the earthly life mixed with suffering and corruptibility. Christ’s resurrection means the transition to another life, in which there is no death.’
Patriarch Daniel noted that the Palm Sunday procession is a commemoration of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem, and ‘a prefiguration of His crucifixion, death, and resurrection.’
He recalled that procession as a spiritual practice to profess our faith in Christ’s resurrection was first organized in Romania during the interwar period, but was banned during the communist regime. It was re-established in Iasi in 1990, and in 2008 in Bucharest.
At the end of his speech, the Patriarch thanked all those who were involved in organizing the procession and blessed the pilgrims present on the Hill of the Patriarchate.
Photography courtesy of Robert Nicolae/basilica.ro