(14th Ordinary Sunday: Zechariah 9:9-10; Romans 8:9-13; Matthew 11:25-30)
Matthew, Mark and Luke all report—twice each—that Jesus made it a condition of discipleship that we must take up our cross and follow him. We heard one of those speeches in last week’s Gospel.
Only Matthew records the invitation we receive today, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest... For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
We prefer this passage, naturally, if only because it reminds us of Mary’s words to Mélanie and Maximin. But there is no contradiction between the two sayings. If we follow the Lord with all our heart, no cross will be too heavy or too bitter, even if it is our own fallen and disordered nature.
The beginning of today’s Gospel provides the context for the invitation quoted above. Jesus says, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones.”
The Father, through Jesus, invites the humble to enter into communion with him.
Notice how Jesus begins, “I give praise to you.” We find much praising today, especially in the first reading and psalm: rejoice, shout for joy, extol, bless, praise God’s name—along with reasons: the King of peace is coming; “The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all his works.”
The Beautiful Lady of La Salette, in praying ceaselessly for her people, is asking her Son to show us compassion and, in coming to us, is asking us to turn our lives over to him, with all our burdens, and worship him.
St. Paul reminds us that we are “in the Spirit.” That is why we can live in sure and certain hope of being heard by the Lord. It is the Spirit also that prompts us, whom Jesus calls “little ones,” to give praise that is truly acceptable to God as we recognize the blessings great and small that he bestows on us.
Praise is more than a matter of words. The wonder and gratitude that inspire it will lead us to seek God’s will for us, and to carry it out with open and full hearts, minds and souls.
Wayne Vanasse and Fr. René Butler, M.S.