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Palm Sunday MMXII

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast sent thy Son, our Savior 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...
[Lutheran Service Book]
Latin original Collect:
Dues, qui humano generi ad imitandum humilitatis exemplum, Salvatorem nostem et carnem sumere, et Crucem subire fecisti: concede propitius, ut et patientiae eius havere documentum, et resurrectionis eius consortia mereamur Christi Domini mostri, Qui tecum.
--Gelesian Sacramentary

Introit:  Be thou not far from me O Lord, O my strength…
Ps:  My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me …
Epistle:  Philippians 2:5-11.  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Jesus Christ …
Gradual:  Thou hast holden me by my right hand: thou shalt guide me…
Gospel:  Matthew 21:1-9  And when they drew neigh unto Jerusalem...
See it all here

O almighty and everlasting God, who didst cause our Saviour to take upon Him our flesh, and to undergo the cross, for an example of humility to be imitated by mankind: mercifully grant that we may deserve to possess not only the lessons of His patience, but also the fellowship of His Resurrection. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
[RCC -- Liturgy Explorer]

Dues, qui humano generi ad imitandum humilitatis exemplum 

God, in his sovereign will, came down to us in the person of his Son, and deigned to take upon himself the vulnerable human vesture in all humility.  Paul speaks of this in the appointed epistle this Sunday. I have little doubt that this passage was key in the mind of the author of this ancient collect.  Paul wrote: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation" [Philippians 2:4-7"]  In so doing, the Father gave us an example of what he calls his elect to become.  The prophet's call years before had established this rule to be the faithful service to God.  "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? [Micah 6:8]. This is precisely what Jesus did, and we are called to imitate his example.  I am reminded of a book from the middle ages that I commend to all: The Imitation of Christ 

Salvatorem nostem et carnem sumere,

Jesus is God incarnate; God with us. The Father sent his only Son to assume our human form. Paul wrote, "and took upon him to form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man."  [Philippians 2:7].  To what end did God do this? The answer follows in the collect: 

et Crucem subire fecisti 

Scripture points continuously to our Lord's coming sacrifice as the Lamb of God, and the necessity that he be of human nature to suffice for the sins of humanity [Isaiah 53].  Isaac was a type of Christ figure. Recall when Abraham took Isaac and had him bear the quantity of firewood (that would consume a human body) on his shoulders. Abraham proceeded on this mission with every intent to sacrifice his son in obedience to God's will.  When Isaac asked about the lamb, Abraham replied, "God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering"  There is no indication that Isaac ever resisted; but rather he was obedient to his father, trusted in him, and submitted to the altar. Tradition has placed Isaac's age at about 20-30
( ).  God interceded and provided a substitutionary sacrifice. In the same way, the Father provided his only Son as a perfect, obedient, and willing sacrifice who submitted to the Cross.  John wrote, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. [1 John 2:2] 

concede propitius ut et patientiae eius havere documentum, et resurrectionis eius consortia mereamur

Finally we come to the petition.  We ask that we may fellowship in Christ's victory over death by resurrection, while we endure in patience as he taught us so to do.  Paul wrote, "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." [Romans 8:18]  and "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;" [Hebrews 3:14]

I dare not leave this small study without commenting on the importance of Paul's concluding words in the Epistle: He wrote,  "God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a Name which is above all names:  that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father."  It is by the name of  Christ alone that one may be saved; all else is in vain.  Let us be mindful of this confession as we enter the most holy of weeks in the Church year and look forward to the Feast of the Resurrection on the Sunday next.

Read more: 
See an homily by Chrysostom on the Epistle lent_palm_07.html 


(Portions were paraphrased and passages cited from The Collect of the Day, by Paul Zeller Strodach, 1939, The United Lutheran Press, Philadelphia)
The Ancient Collect: Its history and form
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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