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The Sunday next before Easter-Palm Sunday

Augustine on Psalm CX 
Palm Sunday Home

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Sacramentary of Galesius, Bishop of Rome [494 AD]. "Palms" were carried by people on this Sunday in remembrance of Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem.

Psalm 97, 110 | 22, 23 , Philippians ii. 5.     St. Matthew xxvii. 1. 

The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool

Psalm CX

Glory, praise and honor,
O Christ, our Savior-King,
To thee in glad Hosannas
Inspired children sing.

[Theodulph, Bishop of Orleans (821)]

This hymn was sung in the 9th century as the people processed with palms on this Sunday.  The Palm Sunday procession was first observed in Jerusalem when the church was liberated in the 4th century. 

It is fitting that today we look at the prophetic Psalm 110, and the opening verse of that psalm that Jesus quoted to the Pharisees concerning himself  during that Holy Week [Matt xxii, 44].  The psalm speaks of the natures of David's Son and Lord: Firstly that of King, for he rules at the right hand of God (verse 1), and secondly of priest, after the order of Melchizedec, who has no beginning nor end and is priest forever (verse 4), and finally, as God's Prophet through this prophetic psalm.

As we listen and read this Holy Week, we will hear the story of our Lord as he performed his office in these three prophetic roles: 

Firstly, as Divine King beginning with his triumphant entry on the colt of an ass as a humble King [Matt xxi. 5] continuing with his confession as King before the Pharisees [Matt xxii. 44] and Pilate [Matt xxvii.11-12] and ending with his crowning and exaltation on the Cross described in today's Gospel, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews  [Matt xxvii, 37], and witnessed by the Centurion at Calvary who proclaimed him in truth as the Son of God [Matt xxvii. 54].

Secondly, as High Priest forever beginning with his purging of the temple on Palm Sunday and teachings in the Temple that day [xxi. 12ff] and ending with his perfect sacrifice on the Cross, once offered, for the propitiation of the sins of the world  [Heb x. 12]. 

Lastly, as Prophet. On the way  to Jerusalem he prophesied his demise [Mar x. 33ff]. He entered the city and wept for fate of Jerusalem as he foretold the coming destruction at the hand of the Romans in AD70 [Luk xix. 41ff & xxi. 20ff] and of the Temple's destruction [Luk xxi. 5] 

 Let us now turn to hear the comments of Augustine on this opening verse.

This Psalm is one of those promises, surely and openly prophesying our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; so that we are utterly unable to doubt that Christ is announced in this Psalm, since we are now Christians, and believe the Gospel. For when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ asked of the Jews, whose Son they alleged Christ to be, and they had replied, "the Son of David;" He at once replied to their answer, "How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto My Lord?" etc. "If then," He asked, "David in the spirit call Him Lord, how is He his son?"With this verse this Psalm beginneth. "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool". We ought, therefore, thoroughly to consider this question proposed to the Jews by the Lord, in the very commencement of the Psalm. For if what the Jews answered be asked of us, whether we confess or deny it; God forbid that we should deny it. If it be said to us, Is Christ the Son of David, or not? if we reply, No, we contradict the Gospel for the Gospel of St. Matthew thus beginneth, "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David." The Evangelist declareth, that he is writing the book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David. The Jews, then, when questioned by Christ, whose Son they believed Christ to be, rightly answered, the Son of David. The Gospel agreeth with their answer. Not only the suspicion of the Jews, but the faith of Christians, doth declare this...."If then David in the spirit called Him Lord, how is He his son?" The Jews were silent at this question: they found no further reply: yet they did not seek Him as the Lord, for they did not acknowledge Him to be Himself that Son of David. But let us, brethren, both believe and declare: for, "with the heart we believe unto righteousness: but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation;" let us believe, I say, and let us declare both the Son of David, and the Lord of David. Let us not be ashamed of the Son of David, lest we find the Lord of David angry with us. 

God forbid that any of us should be ashamed of the name or promise of our Lord Jesus. Let us prepare this Holy Week in heart and mind for the coming great Feast of the Resurrection when we with boldness will again sing our Alleluias to Christus Victor.


Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


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