Jesus tells two of his disciples, "Go into the village opposite you, and as you enter it you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat…bring it here. So they brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks over the colt, and helped Jesus to mount.”– Luke 19: 30-35
The colt, in Jesus’ time, was used for transporting goods, not people. It astounded me when I first realized that. Here was “the king who comes in the name of the Lord” entering Jerusalem a lowly beast not conceived of as a fit vehicle for a person. What message was Jesus sending?
I am struck first by this dramatic intersection of Jesus’ humility and total ownership of his dignity before God, no matter how un-cool his ride was—in fact, in light of it. The freedom Jesus expresses says to me, I know who I am, vulnerable yet resolute in the knowledge of my divine origin and purpose. His example gives us refuge from worldly expectations of grandeur, perfection; we need not attain worldly recognition to be worthy. In his undimmed radiance atop a lowly colt we may see ourselves, beloved by God as we are. I am also reminded of Pope Francis’ episcopal motto “lowly yet chosen” which honors Jesus’ ability to see humanity through the eyes of mercy and love in spite of our shortcomings. May we come to see ourselves and one another with such compassion.
A 14 year-old friend said recently, “Jesus came down from heaven and showed us that we can be holy.” No fancy equipment required, just the courage to show up and be ourselves and the faith to know that is enough. As Fr. James Martin, SJ has said: Being holy simply means being who you are.
What “masks” do I wear in life to gain acceptance from others, to protect me from feeling unworthy and rejected? Lord, give me the courage to be who I truly am, and the faith to know that is enough.
reflected by Alma Morales Risse