Respite with God

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

July 5, 2020 – Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 11:25-30

I really needed to hear the words from this Sunday’s gospel. I felt they were written just for me. Maybe you will think the same. Here are those words of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

These are not only timely words that connect with what we learn from the daily news, but even more to our personal lives. It’s fairly easy these days to list burdensome items from the world around us. Like the pandemic that we are now suffering through, which leaves us with so much uncertainty and worries about what’s ahead. We cannot forget the suffering of families around the globe. Or the fears faced by minorities, not only in the United States, but in so many countries. There are the challenges related to improving police protection, which have no easy answers. And we ought not ignore increasing climate change and global warming that affect us in many ways.

If that’s not enough, we can add our personal list of burdens. They may be related to health issues or financial difficulties. Or personal challenges facing us that we have difficulty even thinking about. There are the inevitable crises being faced by members of our own family or close friends. All these burdens follow us as we make our rounds each day. And if we awaken in the middle of the night, they are suddenly right there with us. So many of us in these days are “burdened.”

To all this Jesus comes to us with an offer. The gift of interior peace. The gift of assistance in carrying our burdens. The gift that not only are we not alone in our efforts to survive, but that God wants to help lift the load from our backs. And more importantly, from our tendency to think we are all alone in our struggles. God desires us to have peace in our lives and hearts. But God will not force this matter. We have to honestly and sincerely make that request of Jesus: “Come to me.” I need your help.

Then we can believe that the burdens are not just ours, but also those of God. God cares for each of us, including the troubles we face. God supports each step we take, continuously helping us to move through each moment of our lives. But again, if we ignore God’s presence with us in all this, we are left to face life all alone. And speaking personally, this can be overwhelming.

Again, God wants us to enjoy the rest that is promised us eternally, but also restfulness right now. Can we find the strength to ask for and allow God to help us?

©David M. Thomas, PhD

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