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BY Peter John Cameron
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Zc 9, 9-10 Ps 143, 1-2; 8-11; 13-14 Rom 8, 9; 11-13 Mt 11, 25-30
THE ORATION of Jesus we hear today gives the prerequisite for those who would be privy to the wisdom of heaven. That distinction is reserved to the merest children, and it is as an obedient Son that Jesus proclaims this truth. His prayer affirms how much Jesus approves of the Father's unconventional strategy for imparting His hidden riches. Christ's prayer invites us to embrace this plan of Providence and to make our own the Son's own conviction regarding the Father's care.
Who would expect such a scheme? That is precisely the point of today's Gospel. It is to those who expect it the least that God bestows His choicest blessings. The prophet Zechariah foretells the redemptive paradox of the Savior King who comes to us meekly riding on a donkey. But, the peace Jesus proclaims is the peace of Easter which makes sense of what the world considers absurd. For Jesus’ peace flows from the power of the resurrection, which restores God's prerogatives and priorities to the world while imbuing us with the confidence we need to place our total trust in divine Providence. The peace of Jesus proclaims that God is in charge, taking complete care of our lives according to His own ineffable wisdom and will.
Since we live according to the same Spirit “who raised Jesus from the dead,” we “belong to Christ.” We are an invaluable part of that “everything” that has been given over to Jesus by the Father; and so we are disposed to know the compassion and solicitude of the Father. To do so, we need only view our struggles in the light of the Spirit of Jesus who assures us, again and again, that “the Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The Lord is good to all.”
For the more we come to know ourselves by knowing the Son, the more the divine rationale of grace unfolds in our life. We see how powerfully the Lord's promise of refreshment is hidden in every trial of weariness. Each experience of pain makes plain the Lord's loving invitation to be one with Him on the cross. We don't have to be afraid to identify with Jesus and take His yoke upon our shoulders; for by our courage and fortitude we learn from the Lord just how gentle and humble of heart He is. By turning to Jesus with our burdens, we find the rest in His Passion that the world cannot give. Our sacred claim and holy boast is that God purposefully lifts up the falling and the bowed down.
The only way to hear and make sense of this divine plan is to remain united to Jesus in attentive prayer, like a child who receives everything from the Father and just as we receive the Body and Blood of Christ from the Son. Therefore, we “rejoice heartily” and respond obediently to the voice of Jesus who beckons: “Come to me!”
Father Peter John Cameron, O.P., teaches homiletics at St. Joseph Seminary, Yonkers, N.Y.