Matthew 11: 25-30
Sunday Reflection by Sister Marie Tighe, SNDdeN
The first half of today’s reading begins with the words: “I bless you Father Lord of heaven and of earth”. Blessings had an integral place in Jesus’ Jewish prayer life. He instituted the Eucharist with words taken from his own daily living: Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. (This is said before eating bread). Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who created the fruit of the vine. (This is said before drinking wine). Jesus presents the Beatitudes as the insignia of the ‘mere children’ who follow him. These are the blessed ones to whom the Father’s love has been revealed.
Celtic prayer, like Jewish prayer, is full of blessings.
Bless everything and everyone,
Of this little household by my side; Place the cross of Christ on us with the power of love,
Be the Three Persons taking possession of all to me belonging,
Be the sure Trinity protecting me in truth; (Carmina Gadelica)
Daniel O’Leary was deeply rooted in Celtic Spirituality with its many blessings for all of life. He tells us that as we bless ourselves with the Sign of the Cross we are enfolding ourselves within the Blessed Trinity, the creator of the universe. He explains that in the Eastern tradition when we touch our brow and our heart, we are opening our heart chakras of vision and compassionate understanding. Daniel goes on to say that in the Jewish practice, that by touching our left and right shoulder, we are activating the spiritual centres of mercy (chesed) and strength (geburah). St. Luke begins this same reading of the Good News being revealed to the simple; to mere children, with the words: “It was then that Jesus filled with joy by the Holy Spirit said, ‘I bless you Father, Lord of heaven and of earth…’ We too, God’s ‘mere children’, have been given the gift of Joy by the Holy Spirit and are thus empowered like Jesus to bless others. We are able to share a blessing in simple and ordinary ways of life: maybe a gentle touch as we reach out to someone, or perhaps a smile as we greet them. It is good to remember that the true meaning of the word “Goodbye” is a blessing; “God be with you!” At other times by just being truly present to the person we are with can be a great gift; a real blessing for them and also for our own selves.
The second half of today’s reading has overtones of Isaiah, 41 verses 29-31. ‘Yahweh gives strength to the wearied, he strengthens the powerless. Young men may grow tired and weary, youths may stumble, but those who hope in Yahweh renew their strength, they put out wings like eagles. They run and do not grow weary, walk and never tire.’ In our youth many of us set off with enthusiasm to answer Jesus’ call, “Follow me!” Alas in the years that passed (if you are like me) you may have grown tired and weary and stumbled. Possibly you have gotten lost at times in byways. You may even have tumbled into a bog and needed to be rescued, or felt you were lost in a dark cave. These words of Jesus “Come to me.” Seem to have a different nuance to “Follow me.” Perchance the words ‘Come to me.’ are more directed to those of us who have tried to follow Jesus and are now just trudging behind him! This invitation, ’Come to me.’ maybe sounds like the voice of a friend who knows how we feel and is willing to give us a helping hand along the way. It could even sound like the voice a loving parent who sees that his child is fretful and tired and needs to be picked up and rocked to sleep. Perhaps you may hear the Prodigal Father speaking those words to his child as he welcomes him home and enfolds him in love.
As a carpenter, Jesus was a gifted craftsman. He knew how to make yokes for the local cattle that not did chafe the animal and would help to balance the load that it would bear. Isn’t’n’t it good to remember that this carpenter who is gentle and humble of heart is our Friend and Brother. Unlike the yokes we try to make for ourselves, his yoke, in whatever way HE fashions it, will help us to find rest for our souls.
Prayer of St Richard of Chichester. Thanks be to you, our Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which you have given us, for all the pains and insults which you have borne for us. Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen.
Wishing you Joy!
Matthew 11: 25-30
At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.
“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.”
The word of the Lord
Meet Sister Marie Tighe, SNDdeN