July 5, 2020 – 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/070520.cfm)
What burdens are we carrying now? What makes us worry at the moment? What are those that we are most afraid of? These questions are surely relevant to us. They tell us about our dispositions and even would tell us about what we are hoping for. We hope to be liberated from our burdens, to be free from worries and anxieties. And usually we want them to disappear immediately.
At the beginning of the quarantine, many have thought that the situation will die down soon. Yet, when we were under the Enhanced Community Quarantine and people began to lose their jobs and business, we began to worry and became anxious. As the Corona Virus infection continue to rise in our country, we become more afraid. As we have been confined in our homes for months now, some have become paranoid and depressed. At present, these can really be our worries and anxieties.
As we pray to God to hear our pleas and answer our prayers many of my friends and those I know have become impatient of this situation we have now. I wanted even all these things to end very soon. Others might have been thinking also that all their suffering will end at once. But, there is a danger around here. There might be a temptation in us to think of a God who does magic and can take away all those concerns that burden us.
Contrary to what we think of God like a magician, our readings today reveal the true character of God. God does not offer us magic but what God offers us rather, is his gentle, merciful and understanding kind of friendship.Tweet
This is what the first reading reveals to us today. The Hebrew people were burdened by their current situation. They were subjected to foreign powers. They became slaves and were taken out from their own land. Thus, they hoped for a savior who will free them from that suffering. They have expected of a savior, a king who will bring armies and slaughter all their enemies. However, the prophecy of Zechariah was different from what people hoped for. The savior or messiah will come to bring peace not another war; he rides on a donkey not on a battle tank. The messiah conquers by humility not by violence. This means that the messiah transforms the community from within, and brings inner peace.
This is what St. Paul tells us in the second reading. When the Spirit of God dwells in us, we are transformed from inside. Jesus gives inner peace when we allow the Spirit to dwell in us. This is the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead, who brought him out of darkness and misery into the joy of freedom and resurrection.
The prophecy of Zechariah had been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is the king, the messiah who rides on a donkey, who lives in humility and brings inner peace and freedom. Our savior and king tells us today, “Come to me all you who are tired and lonely and those of you who are overburdened!” Jesus invites us to come to him and to welcome him in our life.
He is neither a king who terrorizes us with his power nor a master who subjects us with his influence nor a wizard who waves his wand to remove all our difficulties at once. Jesus gives us a humble invitation to come to him as our friend – a true friend who is gentle, humble and compassionate, willing to walk with us.
Thus, when we come to Jesus and trust him to be our friend, then he offers us his yoke. During the time of Jesus, the yoke is that which is put on the necks of two animals to plow the field for planting. There are usually two cows so that the weight becomes lighter and the plowing is easier and faster. Yes, the yoke that Jesus speaks about is from this image. That yoke actually symbolizes the Gospel that we receive today – and that Gospel is Jesus the Lord himself.
It is in this way that Jesus offers himself to be our friend who will be with us. He is not promising us to remove all troubles in life at once, as his life was also filled with pain and suffering. He tells us today that though life may be filled with problems, with worries and anxieties, with fears and self-doubt, with failures and insecurities, with shame and guilt, yet, we will never be alone in our struggle.
Jesus invites us to carry those troubles with him, to pull our burdens with him, to share our trials with him, to draw strength from him and to allow him to help us. In truth, the Lord does not do good things for us, but rather, he does great things with us. He does not do miracle for us but he does it with us. In this way, we may attain inner peace, freedom and confidence with the Lord no matter what burdens we are carrying at this moment.
But let us also remember that our experience with Jesus as our gentle and compassionate friend is not meant to be for us alone. Each of us who have experienced that friendship is called to be a friend to others. Therefore, in return that experience with the Lord will allow us to become willing and generous friends – who is ready to cheer up a friend filled with doubts, who is ready to give comfort to a friend suffering from grief and sorrow, who has a listening heart to a friend who needs someone to talk to, so that we too will become God’s instrument of brining freedom and inner peace to our overburdened brothers and sisters. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR