An image is worth a thousand words. Jesus’ ‘triumphal’ entry into Jerusalem riding a donkey was revolutionary and comforting. Many, and probably the powerless, surely understood this image of humble entry.
Then and now, the world needs new images of power and authority. Jesus-incarnated taught and modeled inner authority and spiritual power, not imposed nor coercive. It is inclusive, convinces by its own merits and the evident truth, and moves hearts. It is Grace incarnate.
Throughout history, multitudes of people have been abused by dominative power, whether by royalty, armies, dictators, religious practices or more recently, multi-national corporations and the effects of neo-liberal globalization. In light of this, it is stunning to see the One who healed, forgave sins, performed miracles and converted hearts—who truly had Power—enter the great city not on horse and chariot, but on a donkey, as Luke and Mark state, one which no one has ever ridden. It is a new Way.
Jesus initiated the Kingdom of God, one where authority is shown by washing the feet of others. It’s fair to say that the Kingdom of God is yet elusive and naïve to many Catholics and Christians. It has been relegated by many to life-after-death and thus lost relevance now.
In our work for justice, we need to follow the new Way of the Kingdom. As with Jesus riding a donkey, or even more startling, One hanging on a Cross, it feels ineffective, inefficient, and powerless. But the Resurrection and Pentecost confirmed this new Power—flowing from and communicating life, love, communion—is The Way to stand in this world. Paul learned and taught this Christian paradox: “when I am weak, I am strong”—in Christ.
- Where do you witness “imposed or coercive” power in our world today? Where do you witness inclusive models of power and leadership?
- How can you, in your work for justice, model life, love, and communion?
Fr. Rafael Garcia, S.J., a Jesuit of the UCS Province, serves in El Paso, Texas, in pastoral care at ICE detention center and Southwest Key for unaccompanied minors. He is also the director of The Encuentro Project, a border immersion and educational program. Fr. Rafael is the incoming pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, adjacent to the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez border, where he previously served as pastor from 1994-2007.