Palm Sunday—King or Servant? He is the Glorious Servant King!
Change is a challenge isn’t it? Let me tell you about our donkey and horse by way of example.
Three weeks ago, we changed the morning routine in our barnyard asking the horse and donkey to exit their stalls from the other side of the barn to go out to the pasture for food. Yet every morning, they continue to stand at the old gate, resisting the new routine. So I carry a handful of hay back to the barn and wait. They follow me with their eyes. Then when I stop coming towards them, they finally decide to see what is going on. Once they eat from my hand and see the other opening to the barn, they finally get the idea and run out, kicking their heels in the air!!
It’s just that it’s been going on for three weeks now and they still don’t get it! Change is hard. And humans don’t respond much better. At our parish we still call our priest “new”, even though he’s been with us for eight months now. We don’t adjust our ideas very quickly.
I imagine it was hard for the people in Jesus’ day to accept his teachings. They listened to Him for three years. He told them, “My kingdom is not of this earth.” He showed them He wasn’t raising an army to prepare for battle against the authorities. Yet that is what the Chosen people were expecting the Savior to do.
So, as Jesus told his disciples to go to the edge of Jerusalem and bring back a donkey, the people of the city prepared to greet a King. Jesus rode in on a lowly animal, while everyone rejoiced thinking that he was finally coming to establish an earthly kingdom.
Only a few days later, Jesus was crucified. Standing below the cross, we can picture the lowly donkey returning to the Master. The shadow of the cross falls on the animal. Ever since that time, the donkey wears two stripes of brown fur, shaped like a cross, on its back. The donkey was changed. Are we ready to change?
Jesus didn’t come to earth to reign in power and glory. Instead, he came to share the cross with all of us. He came to serve, rather than be served. He came to call us to change our ways, and become like him.
Though we may resist the burden of the cross, Jesus lifted it on our behalf. And our souls seem to recognize that gift. Our hearts reach down deep during Lent to prepare for change. We are readied for Holy Week by a time of ashes and repentance so that we can be transformed in Christ. We will be re-fashioned into something glorious and new…when we accept the cross.
Palm Sunday is our reminder to embrace this change and put on “the new self.” (Ephesians 4:24)
Out in the barnyard, just today, our animals are finally ready at the new gate. Change is good!