“Blessed is the man who puts his trust in the Lord.” – Psalm 40:4
St. Philaret was a wealthy man who, after years of being very generous with anyone who asked, intentionally became poor in material goods. One by one, Philaret gave almost everything away. Is it crazy for a millionaire to become a beggar? How about for the God of the Universe to become a baby?
Philaret’s wife sure thought Philaret was crazy. “What a ridiculous, absurd, insane thing to do!” Philaret was ridiculed by his wife for imitating God and emptying all he had into the hands of the poor.
Philaret had few material objects, but God gave him a gift greater than anything earthly. God gave Philaret the gift of insight so that he could see future things. Philaret told his family (two daughters, one son, and three granddaughters), “Wait a little longer. I have an invaluable treasure in a place you don’t know about. It will take care of all our needs.”
What did this “treasure” turn out to be? The Byzantine Empire. His eldest granddaughter, Mary, was chosen to marry Emperor Constantine! By giving everything away, Philaret was given more than he could have ever provided for himself by hoarding.
Now for the exciting part! Do you want to put your trust in God? Imitate St. Philaret the Merciful. Go through all your stuff: your toys and clothes, and give everything away that you haven’t used, can’t wear, or have forgotten about. Be generous, as St. Philaret the Merciful was generous.
The Gospel reading for today comes from Luke 19: 37-44. As Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey, people cry out to Him, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”
This is called the “Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem” and we read this passage on Palm Sunday. Why, then, are we reading about this event today? Because soon, Jesus will be making a “Triumphal Entry into the World” as a baby and we’ll be exclaiming the same thing. “Christ is born! Glorify Him!”