Thursday, July 16, 2020

Thursday, Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time 2020

Our Gospel today (Mt 11:28-30) can be a bit perplexing.  On the one hand, it is wonderful to be called by the Lord and hear that he will give us rest.  On the other hand, when I think of Jesus' yoke, his burdens, I would not describe them as easy and light.  I frequently imagine the cross as Jesus' yoke.  His burdens, well those would be our sins.  You see what I mean?

But if we put what Jesus is saying in context of Mosiac law and how the scribes and Pharisees enforced those laws, we open ourselves up to understanding how Jesus' yoke and burdens are easy and light in comparison.  With over 600 ritual and spiritual laws, and an army of enforcers, living a faithful was onerous, to say the least.  

Jesus boils it all down into two commandments; love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Certainly, living out the love for God has its own challenges, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned and so forth.  Yet if we go to Jesus and share the burdens with him through his yoke, the effort will be lighter than if we tried to do it on our own.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Memorial, St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church 2020

As we celebrate the Memorial of St. Bonaventure, we hear in our Gospel today (Mt 11:25-27) Jesus praising his Father for obscuring these things (mighty deeds) from those proclaiming to be wise and learned, while revealing them to the childlike.  If it sounds familiar, it should.  We heard this on the Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, just a few weeks ago

As I read this short Gospel I am drawn back to my adolescence.  In my childhood, I looked up to my parents in awe with all they knew, all they were teaching me, and all they could do.  Then in my late teen years, I thought I knew it all, and wondered how my parents had become so ill informed.  As I have grown older I have come to understand my parents had not changed, rather, I had become blinded by my own arrogance.

Jesus warns us about this arrogance in what is in essence a prayer to our Father.  When we are centered on ourselves, on our own knowledge, when we are looking inward rather than outward to God, we lose sight of the author of all things, including our abilities to learn and do.    Let us then be outward centered, looking toward God in childlike awe at His greatness.  In doing so, let us be open to what God wants to reveal to us as the loving Father he is.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin 2020

Our Gospel today on the Memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha (Mt 11:20-24) Jesus gives the citizens of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum a piece of his mind!  They have all witnessed his mighty deeds yet the continue their ways as before.  Jesus senses no remorse for their past ways, no indication they will repent for their transgressions.  He warns them that at judgement time they will be judged more harshly than Sodom!  In fact, Jesus goes as far as to say had Sodom been witness to all that Jesus had done in these three towns it would not have been destroyed.

Jesus is not upset over their past sins, but that the people of these towns, despite all they have seen and learned have not changed their ways.  Jesus makes it clear that it is not enough to just believe in him.  Jesus lets us know that we must know him and change our ways to follow him and his teachings.  The doors to Christ’s Church are open to everyone, but his teachings remain constant.  The onus is on us to change, just as the onus was on Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.  Are our hearts open to changing to follow Jesus?

Monday, July 13, 2020

Monday, Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time 2020

The beginning of our Gospel today (Mt 10:34-11:1) seems so uncharacteristic of Jesus.  He states he hasn't come to bring peace upon the earth, rather he brings a sword.  What happened to, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (cf Mt. 5:9).  Or, as we read later in Matthew, "Then Jesus said to him, 'Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword'" (cf Mt. 26:52). 

It isn't that Jesus is bringing about division.  His message of love is for everyone.  He died for everyone.  Reconciliation is for everyone.  Division comes about from us as we listen, understand, and live Jesus' message.  Jesus was and continues to prepare his followers for the hardships we will endure as a result of us putting him first in our lives.  Jesus encourages us to take up our cross and follow him.  And in our times, our crosses are speaking out against the sin of racism, protection of the unborn, and free expression of our faith, just to name a few.