Friday, March 26, 2010

The donkey says no

We are inching closer to celebrating Palm Sunday and any sermon on the day cannot forget the donkey on which Jesus made the triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Many preachers prefer to ask the congregation, “Are you willing to be the donkey on which Jesus had to travel?” We are engaged into an emotionally charged environment where we are faced with a choice between donkey and no donkey! If I have to travel whatever class so that I can be with my master, so be it. I will take the donkey!

So as some writers have pointed out I imagine myself as the donkey on which Jesus travelled. I reconstruct the entry. The children, women and men all throwing their clothes and spreading branches on the road. As Jesus enters placed on the donkey the commotion is huge and the people say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” The donkey also feels a sense of the euphoria which has engulfed the scene. Maybe the donkey felt a rise in adrenalin in the midst of all the people and the shouts of joy and praise?

But what would have been the scene the next day when the donkey sans Jesus travels the same route, head held high and expecting the same praise and attention? Obviously people would have forgotten the donkey (It wouldn’t have been noticed anyway). As the donkey made its way one or the other men on the road would have beaten it and made it to go to the side.

I don’t mean any disrespect for the donkey. The donkey is a very hard working animal and teaches us many things. But when we put ourselves in the shoes of the donkey, we need to think of certain things. The symbolism of the donkey is one who serves the Lord and not the Lord himself. We cannot expect to be the Lord just because we served the Lord. It is a folly to leave the Lord and expect people to concentrate on us.

In the past couple of days India has seen the donkey speaking and trying to overshadow Jesus. Mulayam Singh Yadav started it by saying that women who contest Lok Sabha seats and come to parliament will be whistled at. I presume he expected that people in India would take him seriously but do we need to? Statements like that should be given the seriousness they deserve. None at all! The supreme court of India on the other hand gave a land mark judgement on live in relationships in India saying that there was nothing wrong with it. But all those who are carrying God on their shoulders now see themselves as God and take it upon themselves to deny freedom to others. So this judgement has also been questioned by the so called people playing God themselves.

A television series called “Little Britain” has a character called Carol Beer. She is shown working as a receptionist in a hospital and as a travel agent. She is very close to her computer and answers queries of people by tapping the computer and giving them a negative reply and then saying “computer says no.” Things which were taken for granted, things which were sure, things which were looking bright and hopeful are all cut off with three simple words… “Computer says no.”

As we enter into passion week, we place ourselves as the donkey upon which Jesus has to travel. But as soon as Jesus is out of the scene we try to become what we are not and in his absence take it upon ourselves to tell others what they are supposed to do. We tap into our computers and say, “computer says no”, wiping out the last strands of hope of the common people, from our self constructed peaks of safety and indestructibility!


Nicholovos said...

Good work. Of the donkey story is not a new one but you have given a new twist and related it to contemperory situation

Fr Jerry said...

Thanks. As you have pointed out, the interpretation of the part of the donkey is not new. I tried to get a link to who might have mentioned it first but was unable to do so. But I may have first read such an interpretation by some Kerala fiction writer (I don't remember which one).