HE AIN’T HEAVY, HE’S MY BROTHER!
Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Scriptural Readings: Deuteronomy 7: 6-11; Psalms 103: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 10 (17); 1 John 4: 7-16; Matthew 11: 25-30
My dear encountered couples:
Today’s Liturgical celebration of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart comes in the midst of a world that is in the throes of change, desperately seeking to remain alive. The power of pandemic disease continues to ravage the populations of nations, the forces of hatred and division deeply embedded in histories of privilege and oppression are being challenged, and the power of fear creates social and economic chaos in community after community.
In these disturbing situations, we want to know what is the heart and mind of God? Well, in today’s gospel, Jesus thanks the Father in heaven for revealing to his disciples the wisdom and knowledge of God. What does Jesus' prayer tell us about God? First, it tells us that God is both Father and Lord of earth as well as heaven. All fatherhood and motherhood are derived from him. Jesus' prayer also contains a warning that pride can keep us from the love and knowledge of God. What is pride? It is the too much love of oneself at the expense of others and the exaggerated estimation of one's own learning and importance.
What makes us ignorant and blind to the things of God? Well, certainly intellectual pride, coldness of heart, and stubbornness of will shut out God and his kingdom. Jesus contrasts intellectual pride with child-like simplicity and humility. Only the humble of heart can receive true wisdom and understanding of God and his ways. Do we submit to God's word with simple trust and humility?
Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God – a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus also promises that God the Father will hear our prayers when we pray in his name. That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray with confidence, “Our Father who art in heaven ... give us this day our daily bread.” Do we pray to our Father in heaven with joy and confidence?
What does the yoke of Jesus refer to in the gospel? The Jews used the image of a yoke to express submission to God. Jesus says his yoke is “easy”. The Greek word for “easy” can also mean “well-fitting.” Yokes were tailor-made to fit the oxen well. We are commanded to put on the “sweet yoke of Jesus” and to live the “heavenly way of life and happiness.” Jesus also says his “burden is light”. There's a story of a man who once met a boy carrying a smaller crippled lad on his back. “That's a heavy load you are carrying there,” exclaimed the man. “He ain't heavy; he's my brother!” responded the boy.
No burden is too heavy when it's given in love and carried in love. Jesus offers us a new kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. In his kingdom sins are not only forgiven but removed, and eternal life is poured out for all its citizens.
This is not a political kingdom, but a spiritual one – a kingdom that liberates us from the burden of guilt and from the oppression of sin and hurtful desires. Only Jesus can lift the burden of sin and the weight of hopelessness from us. Do we trust in God's love and submit to his will and plan for our lives?
The surprise of this Feast of Love – for thus it is – is that God so loves us that Divine Presence is a haven of peace in the turmoil that surrounds our planet.