Friday, April 7, 2017

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to Palm Sunday

The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:

          ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
          The King of Israel!” (Jn 12:12–13)

As, therefore, He has promised to give very much to those who do now bring forth fruit, according to the gift of His grace, but not according to the changeableness of “knowledge;” for the Lord remains the same, and the same Father is revealed; thus, therefore, has the one and the same Lord granted, by means of His advent, a greater gift of grace to those of a later period, than what He had granted to those under the Old Testament dispensation. For they indeed used to hear, by means of [His] servants, that the King would come, and they rejoiced to a certain extent, inasmuch as they hoped for His coming. But those who have beheld Him actually present, and have obtained liberty, and been made partakers of His gifts, possess a greater amount of grace, and a higher degree of exultation, rejoicing because of the King’s arrival: as also David says, “My soul shall rejoice in the Lord; it shall delight in His salvation” (Ps 35:9). And for this reason, upon His entrance into Jerusalem, all those who were in the way recognized David their king in His sorrow of soul, and spread their garments for Him, and ornamented the way with green boughs, crying out with great joy and gladness, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” But to the envious wicked stewards, who circumvented those under them, and ruled over those that had no great intelligence, and for this reason were unwilling that the king should come, and who said to Him, “Do You hear what these say?” the Lord replied, “Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?” (Ps 8:3)—thus pointing out that what had been declared by David concerning the Son of God, was accomplished in His own person, thus indicating that they were indeed ignorant of the meaning of the Scripture and the dispensation of God. It was He Himself who was announced by the prophets as Christ, whose name is praised in all the earth, and who perfects praise to His Father from the mouth of babes and nursing infants; therefore also His glory has been raised above the heavens.

Irenaeus, Against Heresies 4.11.3

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