Gospel Matthew 11 : 25 – 30
This Gospel takes place after Jesus reproached the unrepentant towns. We are told that, “he began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented.” (Matthew 11:20.) He criticizes those who refused to listen to his teachings and acknowledge his mighty deeds. Jesus transitions from rebuking to giving thanks to the father and we find ourselves listening to him in his prayer and learn that although the wise and clever seem to be blind to who Jesus is, the little ones see and understand. He shows who his is, The Son of the Father, and the unity of the Father and the Son. Although the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in this passage, we were introduced to the Holy Spirit at the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel when he tells us of the birth of Jesus. This unity of the Trinity is also seen when Jesus is Baptized by John, and again at the end of the Gospel when the apostles and disciples are commissioned to go forth and Baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” After the rebuking and the instruction of who he is, Jesus describes himself as being “meek and humble of heart,” He gives them the invitation to come to him, where they will find rest
Reflecting on the above the thought that comes to me is that of the Mass. We hopefully arrive at Mass with a repentant spirit, and not unrepentant as the people whom Jesus rebuked. We place our desire for forgiveness before the Lord, we hear the readings and homily that give us instruction on who God is, and we profess our faith. After this we have the invitation to share in the Lord’s presence in the Eucharist. We listen as the celebrant calls upon the Father to send the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine so that they become the body and blood of Jesus. We encounter the unity of the Trinity, and are invited to come with our burdens and be refreshed by receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. We are blessed to be able to enter into this sacrifice, sacrament and mystery so frequently.
This Gospel calls us to look at our lives and to seriously examine the sincerity and depth of our repentance. Do we honestly bare our souls before the Lord, not only at the beginning of Mass but also in the Sacrament of Penance? Do we take time to listen to God’s word in the Scriptures and as expounded on in homilies, teachings and spiritual writings? Are our ears and hearts open to the depth of God’s word, even as it challenges us to change our views on particular issues and make our mind more and more like the mind of God?
We can struggle with and through these questions, but in the midst of this, we should not lose sight of the invitation Jesus gives to us. It is the invitation to bring him our burdens, to give them to him and to allow him to receive them from us with his meek and gentle heart. It is the invitation to find rest. The act of repentance and the attentive learning of God’s word both prepare us to make the act of Faith by which we can surrender ourselves to God. True surrender is far more than saying the right words or maintaining the correct posture, it is the deep conversion within us that opens us more and more to the beautiful presence of God.
Fr. Killian Loch, O.S.B.