JULY 15. Ord Time B. Wk 15. Thu. Mt. 11. 28-30
Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’
The first thing to note about this very short, but very important, Gospel text is that it involves and invitation!
And while it is addressed to all Christians it is especially directed to those of us who are enduring difficulties and trials!
And it should be noted that we are told the outcome if we respond generously to the invitation, namely; - “That we will find rest!”
We often overlook the fact God wants us to find rest and peace, and the reason we so often fail to do this is because we are looking for it in the wrong place!
The world would have us believe the way to find peace is to follow our own desires; - but the world is wrong, and eventually our own experience confirms this truth!
As St Augustine so beautifully put it; - “Our hearts were made for you O Lord; - and we will not find rest; - until they rest in you!”
But we also need to note this reading also tells us it will not be easy to find this peace, when it tells us we have to “shoulder Christ’s yoke”; - or join him in carrying the Cross!
And this is where we come face to face with our stumbling block, as few of us are generous when it comes to embracing our God-given Cross!
We are very aware of what our Cross is; - with St Paul referring to it as his “Thorn in the flesh,” but when it comes to “embracing it with a generous heart,” we fail miserably!
And we do this for a very simple reason; - “We do not “like” the Cross the Father has allocated us; - preferring to choose our own!
The Imitation puts it very well; - “Jesus today has many who love his heavenly kingdom; - but few who carry his Cross; - many who yearn for comfort; - few who long for distress; - plenty he finds to share his banquet; - few to share his fast!”
And it is interesting to note the words of Mary when first approached at the Annunciation; - “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; - be it done unto me according to God’s Will!”
And then we have the words of Christ himself; - “I did not come to do my own will; - but rather the Will of him who sent me!”
And when teaching his disciples, we have those famous instructions; - “If any many has a mind to come my way; - let him deny himself; - take up his Cross; - and follow me!”
We are all aware of this divine invitation we have been given; - so why are we so slow to respond; - given we profess to be his followers and to believe in his teachings?
Gospel Acclamation Mt11:28
Come to me, all you that labour and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.