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  • Sarah Raad

Donkey

If I were to submit to God’s Holy Will I could bear Him into the new Jerusalem – which for me is my Family, my home, my workplace, and among my friends.

Palm Sunday (Evans Yegon)

During the second part of Advent, we hear the genealogy of Christ as documented by Saint Matthew in his Gospel (1:1–17).


It is a very long – and dare I say, generally quite uninteresting – Gospel reading and though I can understand why it is included in the Bible, I have often wondered why the Church bothers including it for us in the Mass…


I do not mean this in a disrespectful manner. I am not saying that I do not care about who the ancestors of Christ were. Instead, I am saying that while I recognise the importance of understanding Christ’s long list of ancestors, which confirm the prophesies given to the Jewish people, I wonder if there is more to be gained from this list than a mere genealogy or family tree?


There are so many names on that list – 17 chapters of names – and as I listen to them there are only a very few which are familiar to me… Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Joseph and Mary…


What is known for sure is that some of those men were holy men of virtue, and others among them were terribly sinful and lived lives filled with vice. And then, there are many many many men of whom little or nothing is known. And while I am sure that Bible scholars – who are far more learned than me – will recognise many more names than I recognise on that list, even they will have limited knowledge about the human beings who lived hundreds, if not thousands of years before Christ.


And this has caused me to wonder… What does this mean about all the rest – the unknown men who preceded the Son of Man – the unknown fathers? What is the point of them and why do we still say their names in the Holy Mass during the Holy Feast of Advent? After all, God is CREATOR of all the world – so surely he did not NEED those men as ancestors of Christ…

And as I think of those unknown men, I think of the donkey that carried Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday because I have recently heard an analogy that Pope John Paul I used to describe the importance of humility and surrender, using that very donkey…

In his story, Pope John Paul I asked us to imagine that when the donkey carrying Christ into Jerusalem saw all those people cheering and laying down palm and olive branches, it believed that every honour was for him and not the Son of Man who rested on his back. Imagine that the donkey seeing all that fuss considered himself a donkey above all other donkeys and thought to himself that he was so important as to be worthy of all this fuss. Imagine how much we would laugh at such a donkey as this!


And yet – I am that donkey! It is a wonder that nobody is laughing at me right now…


You see, when I fail to submit myself to the Holy Will of Christ, I fail to see that it can be through me that God can move out into the world... If I were to submit to God’s Holy Will I could bear Him into the new Jerusalem – which for me is my Family, my home, my workplace, and among my friends.


And so it is that I pray that I could one day learn to be a little less like that silly donkey in the story and more like the actual donkey that carried Christ into Bethlehem and later into Jerusalem… For if I were a little more like that real donkey how much more GOOD could God work through my uselessness.


Because God worked such wonders through the nameless, faceless and voiceless ancestors of Christ – He brought God Himself into the world through them… Imagine what wonders He could work through my nameless, faceless and voiceless self – such wonders as the world could not contain – if only I could surrender myself to Him… If only I could…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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