14th Sunday, Ordinary Time, 2014
1) Zechariah 9:9-10
(The vision of a humble, mild Messiah, “humble and riding on a donkey.” And yet, he will also be strong and victorious, in the end.)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
2) Romans 8:9-13
(By the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, we have the strength to live the new life of grace to which God calls us.)
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh- for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30
(Jesus, gentle and humble in heart, invites us to come to him with all our problems. His yoke is easy and his burden light.)
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Becoming like children
“Put your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee” was the refrain of a popular Gospel song some years back. Putting your hand in somebody else’s is a gesture of intimacy, which is very characteristic children with their parents. To a loving father or mother a child will give its hand unquestioningly, with complete trust. Holding his or her father’s hand there is nowhere the child will not venture. It is not only willing to be led, but positively wants to be brought somewhere. Somewhere in the growing up process we outgrow our dependency on our parents, and having lost the need for their guidance, even God can become remote for us. Only those who are children at heart can fully understand what Jesus tells us about God – that God reveals Himself to “mere children.”
Growing up means ceasing to be dependent. We exchange a child’s dependence on people for an adult’s dependence on things, like money, alcohol, success and influence. But these props are notoriously fickle and the adult world is often plagued by stress and anxiety. Our props may provide temporary relief but can still leave us – as Jesus puts it – “labouring and burdened;” labouring under illusions of grandeur and burdened with unreaslised targets. The heaviest load we have to carry is that of our own unfulfilled ambitions, the burden of our bruised egos. Only a return to humility can restore our lost innocence and our lost paradise., that honest humility that accepts our creature-status, our status as children before God. To enjoy the peace of Christ we must “put our hand in the hand of the man from Galilee’, who guides us along life’s journey and helps us to find the way home.
Come to me , all you who labour and are burdened, 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.