Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time, July 18
Just As Our Lord Freely Accepted His Cross Out of His Unfathomable Love for Each One of Us, May We, Too, Find Ourselves More Willing to Accept the Crosses Which We Must Bear, Out of Love for Him and for Each Other, As the Example Which We Are to Set for Our Children and Grandchildren.
Jesus tells us today, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”
I realize that I have reflected upon these words several times in the past, but I would like to address them today in light of our First Reading from the Book of Genesis.
Living out in the real world today is not easy for any of us. And I know, as parents and grandparents, we continually worry about our children and our grandchildren, and how they will fare in a society which is so egocentric, shameless, greedy and success oriented.
Keeping our focus on the teachings of our faith, the teachings of Jesus Christ, is not always easy, especially when we are continuously bombarded with media exposure to all forms of immorality, and when many families on a worldwide scale are suffering from financial difficulties due to a constantly depressed economy and high unemployment rates, wherein many find themselves in some form of financial duress, and many even begin to suffer from a very real physical hunger due to the effects of poverty.
We look at corruption taking place in many governments, the liberal stances which many of our world’s court systems have embraced, the culture of death which surrounds us with ever increasing numbers of abortions on a worldwide level, and a general lowering of wholesome family values due, to a certain extent, to a lack of real understanding regarding commitment within marriages, and also due to an ever increasing number of same sex unions and a secular redefining of the word marriage.
All that we are currently experiencing in government and society lends itself to a general lessening of what our Christian faith holds dear – the sanctity of life from the moment of conception in the womb to natural death, a life of moral chastity between the sexes, and traditional marital unions recognizing the complementarity between a man and a woman, always being open to the gift of new life.
And sadly, this relativistic thinking and general lessening of morality which we find in today’s world is the legacy about which our secular culture condones and acknowledges as normal, a legacy which our children and grandchildren will inherit and within which they will have to live – unless a dramatic change of heart is realized in the minds and souls of God’s children, including our legislative and judicial representatives and governmental leaders around the world.
In the midst of all of this however, it is so important that we, as true disciples of Jesus Christ and of our Christian faith, teach our children to stay focused on the only Truth which truly matters in a world which no longer recognizes Divine Truth, a world which constantly repeats the words of Pontius Pilate, “What is truth?”
And this ultimate Truth is Jesus Christ Himself! He reaches out to each of us – to both you and me – in today’s Gospel, for His words are timeless, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”
God’s faithfulness reminds us that He is always at our side, enlightening us to the fact that we are truly engaged in spiritual warfare today, in which the battlefield is the world, and the spoils of war is our soul which our enemy wishes to claim.
In a world which is filled with relativism, in a world which is filled with hatred – wherein violence is being fought on the streets of our cities, wars of ethnic cleansing are being waged in various sectors of the world, and the cultural and socio-political conflicts in the Middle East, in several countries within Central and South America and Africa, and the constant threats of more violence looming over us from various political or religious factions – the ONLY rest which will truly fill our hearts with a lasting peace is that which comes from God Himself!
In our First Reading today, God is telling Moses that He has recognized the mistreatment and the anguish which His people have been receiving at the hands of Pharaoh, and He says, “I am concerned about you and about the way you are being treated…so I have decided to lead you up out of…misery…”
And do we not find ourselves, as people of faith, who try to live God’s Truth the best we can, feeling anguish over the godlessness and misery which occurs in much of our world today? And we feel it especially when it impacts us at home and on a personal level. The Jewish people were no different, for they were a people who found peace in their God, until a godless culture enslaved and subjected them to misery and torment.
And God said to Moses, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint…” Thus would begin the process in which God would bind up their wounds and bring an end to their misery. But today, God-fearing people are once again being subjected to several godless cultures around the world, and many people ask, “When will all this end?”
I remember many years ago, in the April 1966 issue of “Time” magazine, on the cover it asked the question in bold red print, “Is God Dead?” And the thought that God is obsolete is still borne in the hearts and minds of many. As a result, there is no longer a conscience which guides many governments in today’s world.
And so we find Satan dancing on the rooftops of so many governmental buildings, so many courthouses and so many homes – in which God’s Truth and His Divine Love is neither recognized nor welcomed.
Even a local government recently gave formal approval for a satanic monument to be erected in a veterans’ park in Belle Plaine, Minnesota – the first such monument to appear on public property in US history.
In the midst of all these trials, in the midst of the anguish which many good people feel, and surrounded by so much evil in today’s world, however, it is our Savior, Jesus Christ, who still gives us hope.
God said to Moses in yesterday’s Reading, as He says to you and me today in the midst of our difficult journeys in life, in the midst of the crosses which each of us bears, “I will be with you.” And today, Jesus tells us, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…and you will find rest for yourselves.”
Our psalmist even reminds us in today’s Responsorial that God “remembers forever his covenant which he made binding for a thousand generations” – a Covenant which speaks of the Love our Heavenly Father has for all His children.
For those who freely open their hearts, for those who trust in His Divine Mercy, we know that God does NOT withhold His Saving Love; God does NOT turn His back on us. It is those who have embraced a spiritual darkness in their own lives who have sadly turn their backs on Him!
It is by the very grace of God, and the gift of faith which He has freely given, and to which His faithful children have made a free-will choice to embrace and to which we have opened our hearts, that you and I are guided into an ever-closer and more intimate communion with the God who created us, the God who continues to save us, the God who sanctifies and strengthens us, the God who invites us to become one with Him.
It is this very communion with the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, the Triune God, which fills our entire being, which allows both you and me to bear the stresses and the anguishes which may come our way in life. It is in the very nature of our emptying from ourselves our own ego, our own pride and selfishness, which ultimately allows us to fill up within ourselves that “meek and humble” nature of Jesus Christ.
Just as our Lord freely accepted His Cross out of His Love for us, may we too find ourselves more willing to accept the crosses which we must bear, out of love for Him and for each other.
And it is through the holy and faithful example which we set for our children and our grandchildren, which will help guide them into a better understanding of how to live their faith in a society and in a world which seems, at times, to be hostile against our Christian faith.
Let us truly open our hearts, allowing God to embrace us and to guide us through our valleys of tears, so that we may be able to more fully embrace Jesus’ words, which He wishes to place within our hearts and our souls each day.
For His “yoke” is not heavy, and His “meek and humble” Heart is always filled with an indescribable Love for each and every one of us.
And in His limitless Mercy, we shall truly find rest for ourselves – the rest for which each of us so desperately yearns and, in our faithfulness, a rest with which we shall one day be richly rewarded! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
- “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint…” (Exodus 3:7a)
- “He the LORD, is our God whose judgments reach through all the earth. He remembers forever his covenant, the word he commanded for a thousand generations.” (Psalm 105:7-8)
- “Understand, then, that the LORD, your God, is God indeed, the faithful God who keeps his merciful covenant down to the thousandth generation toward those who love him and keep his commandments, but who repays with destruction the person who hates him.” (Deuteronomy 7:9-10a)
- “God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:9)
- “God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13bc)
- “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the LORD, and I will change your lot.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14a)
- “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)
- “For I, the LORD, do not change, nor do you cease to be sons of Jacob.” (Malachi 3:6)
- “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2a)
- “But you, LORD, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in mercy and truth.” (Psalm 86:15)
- “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)
Prayer for the Day
“O Greatly Merciful God, Infinite Goodness,
today all mankind calls out from the abyss of its misery
to Your mercy – to Your compassion, O God;
and it is with its mighty voice of misery that it cries out.
do not reject the prayer of this Earth’s exiles!
O Lord, Goodness beyond our understanding,
Who are acquainted with our misery through and through,
and know that by our own power we cannot ascend to You.
“We implore You: anticipate us with Your grace
and keep on increasing Your mercy in us,
that we may faithfully do Your holy will
all through our life and at death’s hour.
“Let the omnipotence of Your mercy
shield us from the darts of our salvation’s enemies,
that we may, with confidence, as Your children,
await Your final coming – that day known to You alone.
And we expect to obtain everything promised us by Jesus
in spite of all our wretchedness.
“For Jesus is our Hope:
Through His merciful Heart, as through an open gate,
we pass through to heaven.”Prayer for Divine Mercy (Saint Faustina, “Diary,” 1570)