Homily – April 14, 2019 (Palm Sunday)

Palm Sunday
13 April 2019 Year C

I am often intrigued by small details in Scripture. Today, as we commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, St. Luke tells us that He entered the city mounted on a colt or a donkey. Why a donkey? He could have chosen any animal that He wanted … and not for nothing, marching into the city in a victorious fashion, as a king, might He consider a more glamorous animal? No, He chose a simple donkey. Now, we could say that He does so since it fulfills what was said by the Prophet Zachariah – “behold you king shall come to you, meek and mounted on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.” That’s one way of looking at it. I have another theory…. Traditionally we hold that Mary rode a donkey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order that Jesus would be born in the City of David. In the gospel of the entry into the City of Jerusalem we read that it was a donkey that took Jesus from the Mount of Olives to the city. It seems as though, at key moments in the life of Christ, it is a donkey that gets Him to where He needs to be …. The donkey gets Jesus to where He needs to be…

Why a donkey though? Donkeys and humans have been partners in labor since around 3000 BC. They carry heavy burdens, they endure rough terrain … and they do it all by simply accepting that this is their role, this is their function. A donkey is a humble animal.

The donkey humbly accepts that it is his role to take Jesus to where He needs to be … and in today’s world where does Jesus need to be? Everywhere. He needs to be everywhere … in our relationships, in our work places, schools, sports arenas and even more so in our own lives … there is such a need for God in our world today … and who does Jesus rely on to get Him there … you and me. We are to be the donkey for Christ in today’s world … Jesus relies on us to get Him to where He needs to be. And there is a correlation here between the humility of the donkey and our own need to be humble … to lay aside our egos, wants, needs, desires … to be Christ for others … to share our faith, offer to pray for someone, say grace in public, invite someone to Mass, to help someone on a destructive path … we ought not be so concerned about what people think or how they will react but simply and humbly take Jesus to where He needs to be. It might sound funny but perhaps we ought to think about how we can more like a donkey and get Jesus to where He needs to be.

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