By Bishop Jose Luis
It all started one week before Palm Sunday. Got a message on WhatsApp saying: “Donkey is on its way. Arriving Saturday for practice for Palm Sunday service”. Someone said: “Bishop, today is April 1 and this is probably a joke”.
I joked saying I do not have a “riding license”. Just that the messages continued: “the donkey will be led by its owner”. Fr Tim SDB would ride the donkey before the 09.00 Mass in English and I would do it for the 10.30 Mass in SiSwati. “Both of you should be available for practice on Saturday at 3 pm. Is it possible to house the donkey at your grass space…” No joke anymore. It was true!
Saturday morning the donkey arrived at the bishop’s house and in the afternoon we all gathered for the first practice. Quite a challenge! We risked losing Fr Tim through the gates and into town on the donkey. The experience made us close the gate before I would go myself for a short ride.
Sunday morning, someone used to the donkey joined us for the processions and led the donkey before each one of the Masses. It was very smooth and helped us imagine the joy with which Jesus was welcomed in Jerusalem by many.
But also a reminder of the words of the prophet:
Say to the daughter of Zion:
Look, your king comes to you;
he is humble, he rides on a donkey
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.
I believe it was my very first time to do it and I am deeply grateful to all those who, in one way or another, made it possible.