Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time, July 16
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 Are Given to Bear Out of Love for Him and for Each Other.
Jesus tells us 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.”
I realize that I have reflected upon these words several times in the past, but 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, and greed and success oriented, and in many places which seem to be overcome by violence!
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 are suffering from financial difficulties due to a constantly depressed economy, 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.
Many are deeply concerned about their health due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether it is safe to open the places where we work, whether it is safe for our children to return to school, and how we can keep our elderly loved ones safe from the effects of this coronavirus.
In addition, we witness 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.
And, sadly, this relativistic thinking and general lessening of morality 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 throughout the world, 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. In a world where the constant threats of more violence continues to loom 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.
We find ourselves repeating the words of Isaiah today: “LORD, oppressed by your punishment, we cried out in anguish under your chastising. As a woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pains, so [are] we in your presence, O LORD.”
And as people of faith who try to live God’s Truth the best we can, do we not find ourselves 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!
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 who are spiritually blind. As a result, there is no longer a conscience which guides many governments and peoples in today’s world!
As a sad consequence, 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 are neither recognized nor welcomed.
However, 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, it is our Savior, Jesus Christ, who still gives us hope!
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.”
Even in today’s Responsorial Psalm, our psalmist sings a prayer of both lament and trust with the words, “The LORD looked down from his holy height, from heaven he beheld the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die.”
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 by the very grace of God, and the gift of faith which He has freely given, and to which we 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.
It is this very communion with the Most Holy 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 unfathomable Love for us, we too find ourselves more willing to accept the crosses which we are given to bear – out of love for Him and for each other.
And it is through the faith we embrace and live daily, which we set for our children and our grandchildren to witness, which will help guide them into a better understanding of how to live their own 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 individual 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!
In God’s 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!
No matter what crosses we bear in life, may we always surrender ourselves to God’s will, always reaching out to our Lord from the very depths of our hearts with the words He, Himself, taught us to pray, “Jesus, I trust in You.” †
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
- “LORD, oppressed by your punishment, we cried out in anguish under your discipline. As a woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in pain, so were we before you, LORD.” (Isaiah 26:16-17)
- “The LORD looked down from the holy heights, viewed the earth from heaven, to attend to the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die.” (Psalm 102:20-21)
- “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
- “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)
- “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)
- “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)
- “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:Prayer for Divine Mercy (Saint Faustina, Diary, 1570)
Through His merciful Heart, as through an open gate,
we pass through to Heaven.”