Donkeys are often mistreated, now as in the past. Unscrupulous business men and women prefer money and profits to care and concern. Even today we have to have charities and donkey sanctuaries to provide appropriate help and retirement for weary donkeys. They are often over worked and their hooves untended, their coats left matted and uncombed. They are forced to work in terrible conditions under the hot sun.
Imagine the honour of one ass, singled out to represent his entire race, whom everyone remembers for the day he carried a Carpenter and travelling Preacher into Jerusalem. Instead of the task master beying for his blood, the crowds sing for joy.
He is covered with soft cloaks and surrounded by waving palms. He is praised, not cursed, more fortunate he, than the beast that carried Our Lady from Nazareth to Bethlehem. He is more blessed than those royal donkeys in David’s Royal City, who carried the king to the Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley to drink its holy waters on the way to the coronation in the Temple.
Nevertheless, he did carry a King, who would cross the Kidron Valley towards Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives. He did not see a High Priest anoint and crown his Rider, for he was taken back to his tethering post in Bethphage after the Master’s need of him was over. Happily, he did not see a cynical High Priest attempt to try the Messiah before the Sanhedrin. Caiaphas was more the servant of expediency than of God. He was desperate to please his Roman overlords and political allies.
Though the king of donkeys for a day, he was not privileged to see the anointing in Bethany, even tough it was just near his home in Bethphage. He may well have seen the Garden of Gethsemane on a regular basis, but he was not there on the Night of the Arrest. A mere beast of burden, he never got to enter the Roman fortress of the Praetorium adjacent to the Temple and thus, he never got to see his Rider assaulted, spat at, ridiculed and crowned in jest with thorns. But he did carry a King, who would cross the Kidron Valley and mount the throne of a wooden cross outside the Holy City. They said he was humble and lowly, on that triumphal day, but he would be remembered for ever for that one moment, when he held his head high and walked into Jerusalem, a Royal Donkey, king of his kind, with the King of Kings on his back.