"Jesus Makes Our Burdens Light"

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time,

Year A, 5 July 2020

Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Mt. 11: 28-30

In today’s opening prayer, we see the theme of today’s Holy Mass: “Father through the obedience of Jesus, your servant and your Son, you raised a fallen world. Free us from sin and bring us the joy that lasts forever.” Our Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has raised our world and will free us from sin so that we can enjoy eternal happiness with Him forever. In the First Reading, the prophet Zechariah tells us of the just saviour: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion! Shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem! BEHOLD, THY KING will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Zec. 9:9. St. Paul in the Second Reading tells us that, if we wish to have the Spirit Jesus Christ, our Saviour, dwell in us, then we need to live for the spirit and not for the sins of the flesh: “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Rom. 8:9. The Responsorial Psalm (144) also recalls the joy of belonging to God’s Spirit: “The Lord lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” Ps. 144:14 This same theme of God’s loving care for us is repeated by Jesus in the gospel when He asks all to come to Him when we are burdened and He will refresh us: “Come to me all you who labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you.” Mt. 11:28

Comforting the afflicted

How comforting it is to know that Jesus will always be there to comfort us in all of our afflictions. He is our Saviour, and He will heal us of our sins and sufferings. Our happiness is not in the promises of the world and its pleasures. St. Paul tells us that if we live according to the promises of the world, we will die: “If you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live.” Rom. 8:13 Only Jesus can give us true peace and happiness, but we need to have His Spirit and not the Spirit of the world.

The Spirit of Jesus

The Spirit of Jesus is seen in our obedience to His Commandments: “If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever, the Spirit of Truth whom the world can not receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.” Jn. 14:15. Recall, also, what St. John said about knowing God and keeping the Commandments: “He who says that he knows him, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar the truth is not in him.” I Jn. 2:4 We are sure that we have the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, if we are obedient to the Commandments and to the Church.

“My yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Mt. 11:30

For all those who follow Jesus out of love for Him, their burden is light. There is no weariness to one who loves. This is the great blessing that comes with keeping the Commandments and remaining in the state of sanctifying grace where the Holy Spirit gives us His seven gifts (wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, piety, fortitude and fear of the Lord), His twelve fruits ( charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, and chastity). and the theological (faith, hope and charity) and moral virtues (prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude). These gifts, fruits and virtues make our way through life easier because of God’s grace. When we love, we want to prove our love by sacrifice. As Jesus loved us and sacrificed Himself for us, we want to sacrifice ourselves for Him. (cf. Gal. 2:20.) St. Paul repeats this theme of loving sacrifice (cf. Rom 12:1) over and over again: “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the Church and delivered himself up for her, that he might sanctify her….” Eph. 5: 25 Husbands are to love their wives to the point of sacrifice for that is what Christ did for the Church when He died for our sins on the cross.

Imitate Jesus’ compassionate heart

We must imitate Jesus in our compassion for all those who come to us and are in need of help. We should help them carry the burdens which life has given them. St. Jose Escriva tells us: “When you have finished your work, do your brother’s, helping him, for Christ’s sake, so tactfully and so naturally that no one—not even he—will realise that you are doing more than what in justice you ought. This, indeed, is virtue befitting a son of God.” (The Way, 440) We should never think that an act of sacrifice to help another person is too much to do. The virtue of charity should impel us to give some service to others. At times, it will mean giving a word of hope or encouragement. In this way, like Jesus, we will lighten their burdens and their work (“yoke”). We may only do a little thing, like a kind word or a smile, but it will mean so much to those who are down or depressed with life’s cares. We should also think about some of the things we do which cause people discomfort such as our whims, our impatience, our rash judgments, our negative criticisms or our neglect of our duties. Let us, like Jesus, refresh all those who come to us and are burdened with troubles: “…Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Mt. 11: 28-30

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