"COME TO ME ... AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST."
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, A
Do you want to be a millionaire? Well, could you blame anybody here in this Church for wanting to be a millionaire? With a million dollars you have great power! With a million dollars you can buy a lot of things, a car or even cars, an automobile, or perhaps a house, right?
I was in Jakarta, Indonesia just few days ago and I had my share of being a millionaire, believe it or not! When I first got to the airport, I had 200 hundred US dollars exchanged for the Indonesian currency and to my surprise, the guy gave me in exchange 1.7 million Rupiahs! And so, I told myself, “Finally, I’m a millionaire even for just a few days.” But, I as enjoy my trip, I realized that to have such an amount in Jakarta is worth a fortune. With 1.7 million rupiahs, I could buy a lot of things that, perhaps, not many people in Jakarta could buy. People work so hard out there just to have food at table. Yes, I was fortunate to have a million rupiahs while most of the people of Jakarta are burdened by the demands of daily living.
Now, are we burdened too? Are we that desperate to have a million dollars in order not to be burdened by anything in any way? Today’s Gospel as we go back to the ordinary time, we hear a clear-cut message from Christ Himself. A message of comfort and consolation that in the midst of daily burdens, we find solace in Christ Himself:
1. God promises a way out from the burdens that we carry. He said: “Come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you rest.” Implicitly, Jesus is telling His disciples that following Him, much more serving Him could be transformed into a period of rest. There is comfort in serving God; there is comfort in being God’s messenger.
We know of people, who work for the Church. They spend a great amount of time serving the Church than they probably should in their homes. They don’t get paid as they do it as an apostolate. They simply serve and do what’s good for the Church. To many of them they wonder why they would do it? Some find fitting answers, but most of them simply find comfort in what they do. They say, “Father, I feel at peace with myself each time I do this for the Church,” “Father, I find meaning to what I do, and though I’m old, I am for certain that I am doing something worthwhile for my community, and much more to God.” I think that this is what Jesus meant when he said about giving us rest. Our wholehearted service to the Church will give us our most deserved “rest.” It will give us comfort and it will lead us to peace. Moral of the message? Be a minister! Not necessarily a priest, but someone who could be a messenger of the word and at a certain degree become a “message” to other people as well.
My first two years of priesthood certainly were good learning years. I claim no glory much more great achievements. But as I hear Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel, it gives me some sort of a “push” to carry on that regardless of the burdens of criticism and unkind words which unavoidably we encounter at times, I cling to Jesus and to Him I find rest. I believe this goes to everybody as well in our own respective responsibilities. Always remember, there’s someone who could give us the “rest” that we deserve.
2. Jesus asks us to give up our burden and to carry His yoke instead: “For His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.” Is Christ’s yoke an added burden to our own personal yoke? Of course not! What He’s telling us is that we have to give up our own “yoke,” our useless burdens, which at times, are inessential to the path that Christ is leading us. Without us being aware at times, we are burdened by the demands of modern technologies; by the urge to possess useless things; and by the urge of too much materialism than spiritual nourishment. Christ asks us to give these things up in favor of the yoke that He asks us to carry through the nourishment we get from the Sacraments, the very yoke, which leads us to peace, and more importantly to the Father.
I was saddened to hear about Fr. Corapi’s decision to leave the priesthood in line with the accusations put upon his shoulders. What struck me though was his will to move on and not to totally extinguish himself from serving the Lord. He is right now in a state of tremendous burden and as a brother in the ministry, I pray that God may unburden him from this trial.
3. Jesus urges us that as we carry the yoke, we should carry it with another person if not the very Person of Christ. The word “yoke” by etymology is taken from Proto-Indo European word *yeug- which means “to join, or to unite.” By the word itself, it implies that it takes a pair to put the yoke to its better use. As Jesus urges us to carry the yoke, he wants us to be united with Him and in that sense, he then becomes not only our teacher but our helper and guide as well.
But how can Jesus help us carry this yoke? Well, He helps us in a lot of ways, one of which is to comfort us and to tell us how blest we are to be created by God. Hear these words from an online thought:
I am God. Today I will be handling all of your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help. If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the “something for God to do” box. It will be addressed in My time, not yours. Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it (just like what Jesus was saying, we should give up our burden and carry His yoke instead).
If you find yourself stuck in traffic; Don't despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.
Should you have a bad day at work; Think of the man who has been out of work for years.
Should you grieve the passing of another weekend; Think of the man in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed his children.
Should you despair over a relationship gone bad; Think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return.
Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror; Think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.
Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking what is my purpose? Be thankful. There are those who didn't live long enough to get the opportunity.
Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities; Remember, things could be worse. You could be them!!!!
So, do you still want to be a millionaire? If you still do and become one, please make sure to put the money to good use. To be able to unburden not only yourself, but those among us who have no means to unburden themselves from things that make their lives uneasy. However, if you do not want to be a millionaire as you may find it such a wild goose chase, then be rich spiritually by becoming a “yoke” to other people who would not only teach especially those who are ignorant about the faith but more importantly, help people overcome their daily burdens in life.