Come to me, all who labour and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Our Gospel passages in the last two Sundays were extracted from a message Jesus gave while sending out his disciples in pairs to preach the Gospel in towns and villages that He would later visit. They were not to fear any human being but God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Also, they were not to love anybody more than Jesus, not even their mother, father, or children. It almost seemed like a suicide mission, but these disciples returned joyfully.
This is where today’s Gospel passage takes off. Dear friends, are you currently faced with many trials? Is your heart burdened? Are you experiencing pain or loss at this moment? Today’s message is for you.
*1. Know that God alone holds the Key to your Happiness*
Jesus says, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to infants.” What is this secret wisdom? In the words of St. Augustine: “You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
In sending out his disciples, Jesus told them, “Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff.” (Matthew 10:9-10). In this way, Jesus wanted them not to put their trust in riches or try to seek happiness from material things. Too often, we assume that the more money we acquire, the happier we become. The disciples must have felt this way, but having followed Jesus’ instruction and returned with joy, they discovered a great secret – that only in God can we find true happiness.
*2. Put to Death all that is Sinful within you*
As St. Paul says in today’s second reading: “We are debtors, not to the flesh… 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.” Being worldly-minded and living according to the flesh only brings about frustration. This is reflected in the sadness of the rich young man who walked away from Jesus because he was too attached to his wealth.
Jesus referred to his disciples as infants because they displayed childlike trust and humility by obeying His instructions to the letter. When we fail to trust and obey God, we become like the “wise and understanding” from whom secrets of the kingdom are hidden. Of course, those who know more than God will not follow his commands. Every sin is a rejection of God and an abuse of the freedom that God gave to us.
*3. Learn From Jesus – Forgive and Forget*
In his joy, Jesus presents a special invitation to everyone who may be troubled, disturbed, harassed and dejected like sheep without a shepherd (Cf. Matthew 10:36). What is this invitation? “Come to me, all who labour and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me. (Matthew 11:28-29) Coming to Jesus implies learning from Him. We cannot say we have come to Jesus if we fail to learn from Him.
And what do we learn from Jesus? Forgiveness (non-violence). To Peter, who wanted to fight for him on the night of His arrest, Jesus said: “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52). In other words, learning from Jesus is learning to forgive others. Is it easy? No. Hence, Jesus refers to it as an easy yoke and a light burden. Forgiving others may require you to swallow your pride and let go of what has been taken from you, but it remains the way to finding rest for your soul.
*4. Learn From Jesus – Be Humble and Gentle*
In a world where people would rather have their way with violence, Jesus wants us to learn from his simplicity, gentleness and lowliness. As Jesus said: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” In our quest for happiness, we often wrongly assume we can be happy by lording it over others, but Jesus teaches us to do the opposite.
Our first reading today states: “Behold your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he (yet), humble and riding on an ass.” Humility is not a sign of weakness; instead, it is a sign of courage and great inner strength.
*Conclusion: Leave it for God.*
Stop worrying about your problems. By worrying, we magnify our problems, and God appears lesser. Be like Paul and Silas; sing instead. Sing the praises of God as our Psalmist today exhorts: “I will extol you, my God, and bless your name forever… the Lord is faithful in all his words… the Lord supports all who are bowed down.”
Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, in my sadness and pain, support me, O Lord. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Bible Study: Zechariah 9:9-10, Ps. 145:1-2,8-11,13b-14, Romans 8:9,11-13, Matthew 11:25-30).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu