July 5, 2020

First Reading :  Zechariah 9: 9 – 10;  Psalm: 145; Second Reading  Romans: 8: 9, 11 -13;  Gospel: Matthew 11: 25 – 30

Our first reading for this weekend is derived from the ninth chapter of the book of the prophet Zechariah, one of the twelve so-called minor prophets of the Old Testament. The background for the prophecy contained here is that Israel saw itself as the specially chosen people of God, whose mission was to bring the light of the Lord to all the nations of the world. At the time of David, this ambition seemed more realistic, but things fell rather quickly apart. And yet, oddly, they continued to hope. God would cause Israel to fulfill its destiny, precisely by raising up a king like David.

God always takes the initiative in the divine-human relationship. The scene is one of humility but also of peace indicating that peace is returned and the nation is free from the ravages of war. The people can now devote themselves to planting and harvesting. This is confirmed later in the words: “He will banish war chariots from Ephraim and war horses from Jerusalem; the bow of war will be banished.” He will proclaim peace for the nations. He is a king of peace, not just in the sense of an external absence of violence but of a deep, inner peace, shalom. He restores the relationship between God and people which is evident from the fact that God addresses Jerusalem as his daughter. The renewed Jerusalem will no longer see the images associated with warfare. The Lord now invites the citizens of the New Jerusalem to watch for the arrival of the king who will introduce a new age for them. The ideal King will establish a reign of peace extending beyond the boundaries of the Promised Land and will extend to all nations.

In the Gospel of today Jesus says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. When we live our Christian life as a new creation, enjoying the gifts that we have received during the Sacrament of Baptism, we think spiritually. When we think spiritually, we are no longer burdened by the worldly ways because we are walking our living faith and hope with a spiritual heart. In this passage Matthew emphasizes the observation of Jesus that the humble persons are truly God’s kind of people. Jesus the carpenter was one of them. Thus in this passage Jesus begins by praising God for the revelation that has been hidden from the so called wise and learned but revealed it all to the child-like or simple persons.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”  By this saying, Jesus does not promise us a deep sleep, a long vocation or any other peripheral refreshment.  Rather he promises his own rest, his own spirit that will give peace.  Jesus asks us first to come to him and accept him as the source of rest and peace.  That is what god the Father foretold about his Son through the prophet Zechariah: “See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, and he shall proclaim peace to the nations.”  Jesus is the prince of peace whose main aim to enter into this world, was to establish true peace in the hearts of human.

Today Jesus also wants us that, in order to have total rest, we should get his Spirit and live in that Spirit.  Paul states in his letter today that, by Baptism we the disciples of Jesus are already possessed by his Spirit: “You are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”   From Baptism we are not debtors to the flesh.  This is the main reason why we can free ourselves from restlessness. Even those things that disturb the physical, emotional and our will.  Therefore they would never pull us down into restlessness.

Jesus adds to his invitation a beautiful reference to his own way of dealing with life’s disturbing factors and events.  He points out that he is meek and humble and wants us to learn from him how to be humble and meek.  We know from his life’s stories all about his humility and meekness throughout his life, especially at those times when he was emotionally and physically facing tensions and sufferings.  He was humble enough to resign to his Father’s will and surrender himself, his entire pride, glory and dreams to his Father.  He submitted to the Sovereignty of God, to His Providence and to His Eagle’s wings.  He moved around with genuine pride and not with wounded pride.  He was like a little child.  He was also very  meek in dealing with his fellowmen who were hostile to him, rejected him and condemned him to crucifixion and death.  As Isaiah foretold, though he was harshly treated, he submitted and kept silent.  Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth.  He found him helpless, voiceless and totally vulnerable like a little child.

This is what Jesus wants us to be.  Only then he promises his true peace and rest that will come into our soul.  As a matter of fact, most o Jesus’ disciples today do not possess true peace in their soul.  They are restless day in and day out.  It’s modern thinking that to be anxious and fretting in smartness.  But in the light of God’s Word it is sheer wickedness and a pagan a attitude.  The anxiety is generated by our pride, arrogance and sometimes ignorance of God’s Word.  The more we live in flesh, the ore we will be succumbed to tensions and anxieties.  Being meek and humble of hart and mind like Jesus, and resigning ourselves to God’s will, is the only way to be at rest.  Let us reflect over our own attitude and mind-setup regarding handling of hard and bad times of life in the light of today’s Liturgy of the Word and be ready to be healed and nourished by the Liturgy of the Eucharist.   

God Bless you.  Have a wonderful Sunday