Thursday, July 3, 2014
"For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
The words of the Gospel this Sunday, July 3, 2011, are wonderfully comforting; they express the compassion of Christ not only for those who suffer or are crushed by the heavy loads of life, but also to the child-like, the innocent and the trusting. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with family, friends and church groups.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.
Who of us cannot be moved in some way by the consolation that Jesus offers in these words. Brief but exceedingly rich in meaning, these are after all some of the most well-known and most popular passages from all of the Christian Scriptures. How beautiful these words from Jesus are. And yet, Fr. John Foley, S. J. exclaims, so hard to trust.
This gospel has two distinct parts, explains Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. In the first, Jesus expresses profound gratitude to the Father, source of all being and goodness, because he has freely chosen to take note of the little ones. In the second segment, Jesus reminds us that accepting his wisdom of loving service will indeed mean submitting to the yoke of discipline and sacrifice. But it will be a sweet yoke, because we bear it with Jesus.
His Yoke is Easy and His Burden is Light
Jesus appeals to those who experience life as one unending chore. Jesus, the great comforter, is the one who opens his arms in welcome to those beaten down by their experience, those who find themselves ostracized and rejected, overburdened and crushed. He offers rest and refreshment. His yoke is easy, he says. His burden is light, Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. explains, not because you are so good at being a Christian. His yoke is easy and His burden is light because Jesus is carrying them.
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio puts us on notice, however, that following Jesus does mean that you are foot-loose and fancy-free. To be a disciple means voluntarily putting a yoke on one's shoulders, and walking in a direction set by the master. Jesus came to bring liberation, true freedom. Fr. Phil Bloom says the amazing thing is that when people accept Jesus' yoke, they discover a new power, a freedom they never imagined -- freedom from sin and suffering.
God's Will or Ours?
The problems we face will either defeat us or develop us—it makes us better or bitter depending on how we respond to them. How can we know the will of God in our lives? Fr. John Bartunek discusses the two ways God manifests his will: Indicative Will and Permissive Will. We also addresses the question of why God permits evil and suffering?
Fr. James Gilhooley notes how many of us have studied the Gospels and concluded they are difficult and so we turn to religion. We conclude that belonging to a religion is much easier than being religious and less demanding than serving Christ. Because we have the education and money, we are swept away from God by material things that it tends to create a false sense of security for us.
Fr. Joseph Pellegrino warns us that arrogance kills, particularly, intellectual arrogance. We have to take care that we don’t fall into its trap. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS says such attitudes not only bring dissatisfaction but they displease God. Jesus is telling us that lowliness and meekness are attitudes that are valued extremely highly by God.
Let Us Become Like Children
Indeed the litmus-test for Christian orthodoxy is not the creed or the commandments but this particular challenge from Jesus: Can you love an enemy? Can you forgive, even when every feeling inside of you rebels at its unfairness? And it’s exactly on this point, to do this willingly and without resentment, Fr. Ron Rolheiser emphasizes, that its practice grows difficult. It’s not easy to do this and not grow resentful and manipulative.
God has existed in His divine eternal splendor from the beginning. We have been called to share His own wonderful light in and through our Savior Jesus Christ. Father Cusick reminds us to encounter, accept and love Jesus as He is, not as we would have him be. But while the wise and the learned, the scribes and Pharisees, have rejected Jesus' preaching and the significance of his mighty deeds, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB notes that the childlike have accepted them.
More on the Eucharist, etc.
As a followup to our articles on the Eucharist on last week's issue on Corpus Christi Sunday, here's a couple more noteworthy articles. Fr. Robert Barron offers a clear narrative on "Jesus: Really, Truly, Substantially Present" in the Eucharist. He notes that at the consecration at every Mass, the priest acts, not in his own person, but in persona Christi, hence affecting the transformation that Catholics call “transubstantiation.” Plus here's a gem we discovered from Dr. Marcellino d'Ambrosio: Understanding the Mass, a 5-Part Series.
And speaking of proselytizing, what do you do when Mormon missionaries come knocking at your door? Joe Heschmeyer shares his experiences, for two reasons: to help prepare Catholics for Mormons who come knocking, and to get us to think more seriously about our own call to Evangelize.
And from the Vatican, we share with you a story about a church that was literally built on St. Peter - it's the Basilica of St. Peter. This account follows the history of this structure beginning with the crucifixion death of St. Peter at the hands of the Romans. The history is quite fascinating.
Fourth of July Celebrations
A man has a healthy appreciation for positive traditions. Traditions add rhythm and texture to our lives, bind us together with others, give us something to look forward to, and simply provide a good deal of joy and satisfaction. Here's a list of 10 awesome Fourth of July traditions for celebrating our nation's Independence Day on Monday. Try a few or try them all. In time for Independence Day, Fr. Robert Barron offers this piece: A Nation Under God; a Nation That Keeps the Sabbath.
Summer is finally here, so let the vacation planning begin! Airline tickets: check. Hotel and rental car reservations: check. Bags packed and ready to go: check. Catholic church selected near our destination and appropriate clothes packed: huh? Peggy Bowes offers this friendly reminder that, even on vacation, we should not take a vacation from our Sunday obligation.
And finally, do you want to be happy? Bo Sanchez says the key to happiness is gratitude. A grateful person is a happy person. And an ungrateful person is an unhappy person. Here’s his definition of a grateful person: A grateful person focuses on what is good. It’s almost the same definition for a loving person. He explains in his usual down-to-earth folksy style.
Another eventful week in our Catholic World. A blessed Feast of Corpus Christi to all!
Keep the Faith. Peace.
Publisher & Editor in chief
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