Open Bible:
April 2003 

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Palm Sunday or the donkey's triumph




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Palm Sunday or the donkey's triumph

The Evangelists tell us that at the beginning of this tragic week named the "Holy Week" that preceded his death, Jesus needed a donkey. He said to his Apostles: "If you are asked why you are untying this donkey, you will answer that the Lord needs one".
Rameaux Why a donkey for this show of triumph that we call "Palm" Sunday from the palms and branches of trees waved by the supporters of Jesus? Because a donkey has a lower status than the horse. 

In the Biblical tradition a horse represents the strength, the power, and the self-confidence of man. A warrior on a horse does not need God. A warrior on a horse makes war, crushes his enemies, and shows his power. A horse is harnessed for the kings, the powerful. It is the weapon and the symbol of violence at war; it means the arrogance of man, the conquering power.

At the opposite of the horse is the donkey. A donkey is devoted to pacific tasks. It is seen plowing in a field. It lives with few things, like the poor and the peasants that it helps to live. A donkey is the camel for the poor, the friend and the server of the hard-working. Is it strange that Jesus, a friend of the poor and of the scorned people, the servant of the servants, makes his triumphal entrance to Jerusalem on a donkey's back?

Once more we see Jesus both as servant and master, washing his disciples' feet and in the meantime saying that he is their Lord and master making a triumphal entrance on a donkey's back. What kind of a master, of a Lord does he want to be?
vie éternelle He is the one who "has the words of eternal life" like Peter acknowledged, the one who gives a meaning to life, the one of whom the teaching makes you live and to think about. He is a master of wisdom. A wisdom that is never imposed but always proposed: " If you want…" It is this mixture of authority and vulnerability that has seduced his friends and that has allowed them to recognize in Jesus, a fragile human being like them but showing a conviction that seemed coming from elsewhere.