John Connelly


Palm Sunday – March 20, 2016
Luke 19.28-40 | Isaiah 50.4-7 | Psalm 22 | Philippians 2.6-11 | Luke 22.14-23.56
March 7, 2016

A great king does not ordinarily ride on the back of a common donkey. So the image of Jesus coming into Jerusalem in this way should cause us to reflect and pray.

Jesus is a different kind of king. He is a king who comes with the most profound humility imaginable. He is a king who comes to suffers with us. He is the King of Mercy riding on a donkey into the lives of all who receive him.

When I lived on a small farm in Radway, we had a donkey in the yard who would just stand there not doing much. I would go to the fence and talk to him, but he was stubbornly unimpressed and usually would not move.

You will find there a colt that has never been ridden. - Luke 19.30

'You will find there a colt that has never been ridden.'

Luke 19.30

What was God thinking when he created donkeys? They are almost like a cross between a horse and a large rodent. But that donkey made me smile. I respected him.

This leads to the question: Why did God create donkeys?

I think God created donkeys with a big smile. God may have said, "Someday my beloved Son, the Lord and king of all creation will ride on a donkey to his passion and death."

So, yes, I love donkeys. I love the idea that one of these humble creatures was a temporary throne for the king of all. Donkeys and all God's creatures deserve our respect since God created everything with a purpose.

We are all on a journey with Jesus. We may be rich or poor but we must never forget that one day we will face our own passion and death.

God wastes nothing. Everything has meaning when we see it with the eyes of Jesus. A donkey has meaning; so do a flower, a wedding, a crying child and the longing in a dying person's eyes. This is why St. Ignatius of Loyola taught us to prayerfully "find God in all things."

Holy Week is a reminder that we need to wake up and see life with new eyes. Life is passing by us, and our great and merciful king comes in ways we do not expect. He comes to us in our struggles, our weakness, our joys and our uncertainties. He comes to us to surprise us, to refresh us, to teach us the way of humility and peace.

One great practice of our faith is to meditate on our own death in the light of the cross.

We don't want to think about death. But as I write these words tonight I am thinking about my own life and death.

I also keep thinking about a sacred donkey who is carrying Jesus on his humble back. I look affectionately at that donkey in my mind's eye and I pray,

Thank you Lord for creating donkeys. Thank you the gift of all life and all creation, for joy and suffering, for your passion and death, and for this extraordinary journey that is our lives. Amen.