Carrying Jesus

Palm Sunday

From Our Director of Religious Education

Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

I was preparing my lesson plan for our middle school youth group this week. The topic was Palm Sunday. I wanted to make my lesson memorable and spiritually enriching. I made paper palms with the students and did a small reenactment of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. As I started to picture which students would play which characters, I could easily pick out who would play Jesus, Mary, and the disciples, but the one role I had trouble finding a person to fulfill was the donkey. I thought, “Who on earth would want to play the donkey? I sure wouldn’t!”

Sandra Dominguez

Historically, horses have been the superior animal over donkeys. In the Roman Empire, horses were used for sports, to pull chariots, and for royalty, especially when going to war. The donkey, in comparison, has always been seen as a simpler and humbler animal.

In his 2nd letter to Timothy, St. Paul says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching.” Therefore, if the donkey is mentioned in scripture, there must be a lesson here.

Zechariah prophesied, “Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Jesus fulfills this prophecy. As we reflect on what happens next after Jesus’s joyful welcome, I can’t help but think of his suffering. Jesus was captured and betrayed, trialed, punished, abandoned, and crucified at the hands of those same people who once praised him by shouting, “Hosanna!” These same folks who laid down their garments for him later sang a darker chant, “Crucify him!” and left him to die on a cross naked.

Returning to my initial thought about the donkey, this humble (yet stubborn at times) but peaceful creature carries Jesus to his birth in a stable and to his death on the cross. This creature was lowly enough for a humble King, peaceful enough for a King who came to reconcile humanity.

As we begin Holy Week and enter the sacred Paschal Triduum, I would exhort us to rid ourselves of everything that keeps us from giving Jesus his right place in our lives. What good would it do for us to sing Hosanna and lay our garments down if we, too, forsake him day after day?

Would you like to give Jesus his rightful place of Lordship, King of your life? If you want to give our King his rightful place, be a donkey, humble to follow the example of service that Christ gave us, and stubborn and passionate about all things concerning our God.

Peace, Sandra Dominguez

(En Español)

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