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Fr Maurice: gratitude and burden

July 5, 2020

Dear Holy People of God,

The two emotions in the Gospel text for Sunday, July 5th, Matthew 11:25-30, could very well capture the profound sentiments that might be in us as we celebrate the 4th of July.

The first, the Gospel tells us that Jesus gives praise to the Father (Mt 11:25), so there is the whole manifestation of praise; of gratitude. And I believe, from the depths of my heart, that is something we too can offer to God today for America, the land of the free and the home of the brave and the hope of freedom for the world. We give praise to God for all of the good that America does for the world.

On the other hand there is a second emotion that Jesus talks about, he says all you who are burdened come to me.

As much as we give praise. We are realistic enough to know that there is no paradise on earth. We are humble enough to know the challenges that living in the here and now poses.

And we have seen that recently in much more disturbing senses. And not only that, we feel as though we are burdened by this whole pandemic: anxious, unsure of tomorrow, unsure of the direction that our country or our world is taking. All countries have been affected. This is the context in which we read the Gospel when Jesus says, “come you who are burdened.” (Mt 11:28)

With all that is currently going on, that the Lord invites us to come to him with our anxieties, our sentences, our failed plans, our aborted ideas.

The Lord says, “come all you who are burdened and I will give you rest.”

It’s one thing to be weighed down by all that’s happening around us, but it’s especially helpful that the believer has someone that says, “I know what you’re going through and i want to be there for you. I don’t want to abandon you alone in all those things.” That is what Jesus says to us.

There’s so much good that America does in the world, and its important to say that, and remind ourselves of that. And at the same time, there’s too much to be done, and that is why we go to Jesus with all that weighs us down.

We say, “Lord, we respond to your invitation and we come to you with all the burdens that we have.”

It says for “my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” (Mt 11:30) which means there will be a yoke; there will be a burden. To follow Jesus does not mean a life without burdens, without crosses. But the assurance that we have is that Jesus will be there when the going gets tough. The assurance that you and I can leave with is that we are not going to face life’s challenges alone.

I am not going to carry life’s crosses alone. Jesus is with me all the way through. And that is a great consolation!

So let us pray for the grace to walk with the Lord. St. Ignatius says, “walk with Jesus.” We allow the Lord to enter into our life’s journey and walk with us, because when he is present we can be sure that somehow the burden is made lighter.

May God bless us, and may God bless these beautiful United States of America.

– Fr Maurice