Thursday, July 16, 2015

Who except God can give you peace?

'See, my children, a person who is in a state of sin is always sad. Whatever he does, he is weary and disgusted with every thing; while he who is at peace with God is always happy, always joyous. . . Oh, beautiful life! Oh, beautiful death!'--St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney: T.O.S.F., ( 1786 – 1859: Patron saint of all priests)

Gospel Text: (MT 11:28-30)
Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Matthew in this passage portrays Jesus as the Wisdom of God. Matthew does not present Jesus as saying that he would put his disciples in touch with God who will give them peace. Rather he tells them that he “will be their peace and rest!

The Rabbis in the time of Jesus spoke of the “yoke of the Torah.” They had another saying “My yoke is my song!” The yoke and burden of Jesus is to submit to the Will of God. It is also the surest way to the knowledge of the Father.

Readers of the Scriptures are stunned by this passage. The scribes and pharisees did not understand what Jesus was saying about his yoke and burden. The towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, where he performed his greatest miracles didn’t get it either. Rather the unpretentious, the humble, the little ones did get Jesus and his message, which came from God.

Jesus does not promise to remove our burdens or yoke. Instead he will refresh us and make it light. Jesus speaks to all who are burdened. Jesus promises grace is there whenever our yoke and burden becomes overwhelming.

The poet W.B. Yeats had this to say: “Can one reach God by toil? He gives himself to the pure of heart. He asks nothing but our attention.” The way to find God is by attention to Jesus Christ.

Victor Frankel, the holocaust survivor, tells us #1. To live we must choose life, #2. To love we must encounter life, and #3. To grow we must suffer. Henri Nouwen, a Dutch-born Catholic priest tells us that we have been given disciplines to help us with the yokes and burdens in our life. #1. The discipline of the Book, in other words the Bible is a great source of understanding the Will of God in our life. #2. The discipline of the Sacraments, which support us in our challenges. #3. The discipline of the Heart, spiritual directors who accompany us on our journey of life.

Jesus is the source of our peace and rest. He it is who makes our yokes easy and our burdens light.

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