July 5, 2020: Reflection for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 5, 2020
by Linda Fitzgerald, Notre Dame Associate
Reading I Zechariah 9:9-10: The shouts celebrate the coming savior who will remove the reason for war, injustice.
Reading II Romans 8:9, 11-13: Those who live according to the flesh…their thoughts are earthbound, narrow and shabby; their life a vain shadow of what it could be if they live “according to the Spirit.”
Gospel of Matthew 11:25-30 “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
The burdens of these Jewish Christians are most likely the 613 rules taught by the Pharisees, who do not lift a finger to help people carry them out (Matthew 23:4). In contrast, Jesus’ yoke, His teachings, are simple and straightforward. His way is not only “easy” but also, based on the Greek, “useful,” “worthy,” “good,” or “pleasant.” Jesus focuses on the needs of others. The phrase “humble of heart” conveys that he is not a leader who makes his superior position—indeed his divinity–felt by his coworkers. Jesus notices when his disciples become weary and eases their load. He works alongside those who belong to him and his Father in every generation, humbly and tirelessly providing for their needs as they strive to bring divine justice and peace into a world inclined to war. To this we are called. Let us rejoice greatly.
(Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers and Proclaimers of the Word 2020, United States Edition All rights reserved).
Who has not felt “weary” and “burdened” especially by the troubles of this life? Sometimes this happens so that I can’t rely on myself, but I must rely on God. Jesus understands and wishes to show us how to take a real rest.
Keep company with me and you’ll learn how to live freely and lightly. Sometimes, I see the yoke as a tandem bicycle making even the hardest uphill paths seem easier.
God’s rest is profound peace that God gives to those who obey Him regardless of their circumstances.
Will we let Jesus take our heavy loads and learn from Him the unforced rhythms of grace? Don’t let me ignore Your sweet invitation to rest, to peace, to partner with Your strength. Amen.