Basilica News Agency – 13/4/2020
Patriarch Daniel delivered a message of hope to a society living under the fear of the coronavirus pandemic, as he commemorated the glorious Entry into Jerusalem of Jesus Christ at the Divine Liturgy in the historical chapel of his patriarchal residence on April 12.
The Patriarch of Romania noted that many people who stay at home to respect the restrictive measures enforced by the authorities are overwhelmed by the fear of sickness or even death.
The Patriarch asked the Lord Jesus Christ ‘to help us rise from the too great fear of sickness and to strengthen ourselves in faith and good deeds, in acts of mercy and in helping those in need.’
‘Let us not think so much about ourselves, but more on the needs of others,’ His Beatitude urged highlighting that by doing so ‘we feel the blessing of the Saviour Jesus Christ come into our soul.’
Patriarch Daniel issued a strong appeal to Christians to pray to the Lord who entered the city of Jerusalem ‘to enter also into our souls and houses, which have become family chapels these days, by keeping a prayerful contact with the parish church.’
‘By this, we also show that Christ’s victory over death and suffering is the victory of His sacrificial love.’
In his homily, the Patriarch likened Christ’s compassion manifested in His weeping in front of Lazarus’ tomb to that shown to people around the world today as they endure the COVID-19 epidemic.
‘As He transformed the tears of the two sisters, Martha and Mary, into joy, so will He help us to reach the Feast of the Holy Pascha and to overcome this great test of the current pandemic,” said His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel.
During his homily, Patriarch Daniel listed the spiritual meanings of the Feast of Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem. He said that the victory over Lazarus’ death prefigures the Universal Resurrection as mentioned in the festal troparion.
Palm Sunday is a foretelling of Jesus’ victory over His own death through His resurrection on the third day. It is also a foreshadow of Christ’s entry into the heavenly Jerusalem after his resurrection.
Patriarch Daniel pointed to the flowers usually carried together with palm or willow branches on Palm Sunday saying that they represent flowers of faith and spiritual Lenten flowers gathered through prayer, fasting, repentance and good deeds.
The Primate of the Romanian Church noted that the ointment made from pure nard symbolizes the Holy Chrism, but also the splendour of the Church because ‘the beautiful items in the church direct us to a permanent splendour, the beauty of the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven since the Church is the image of the heavenly Jerusalem.’
Mary’s myrrh of great price symbolizes ‘the soul of a right-believing person, a soul purified through repentance, remission of sins, and receiving the Eucharist.’
The Patriarch told the faithful that the beautiful vestments, liturgical objects, icons and painting are signs of Christ’s adoration, which does not oppose the care for the poor as the Saviour Himself said.
Palm Sunday, Patriarch Daniel said, ‘is a feast of light and joy that calls us to bring o Jesus the flowers of our faith and Lenten feats.’
At the end of his sermon, Patriarch Daniel congratulated all those celebrating their name’s day on Palm Sunday wishing them ‘good health, peace, God’s help, joy and to become flowers of the right faith, joy and hope.’
Main picture: Patriarch Daniel blessing believers on Palm Sunday 2019 in front of his patriarchal residence. Courtesy of Lumina Newspaper