Gospel MT 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.”
My dear Followers of the Sacred Heart,
Several years ago, a man in utter distress spoke with me on the phone. He had lost his health and searched out many doctors for relief. As a result, he lost his job and his family disowned him. He traveled around his city going to Mass and the priests usually did not have time to sit with him and listen.
Through his own prayer, he truly understood the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As I listened to him, I was in awe of his incredibly deep faith and perspective on God. He experienced physical, emotional and spiritual loss. This loss was not his fault. His bodily diminishment taught him to rest in the Heart of Christ Jesus. He heard through his pain the voice of Jesus in today’s gospel, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”
After a long phone conversation, he said to me, “Father Ron, why don’t people understand suffering?” Unless we have experienced a sense of loss or ongoing physical or emotional pain, we may be unable to hear the suffering of our brothers and sisters. I had no sufficient answer for his profound and yet simple question.
I continue to have many teachers who uncover the mystery of this Solemnity of Jesus for me. I admit, the question he posed me a few years ago has reached a new depth in me. In my own prayer, I have to ask this question as a pastor. I have to lift up this question as I live in this time of racial division, fear, and our common confusion living on the face of earth at this time.
COVID-19 and the murder of George Floyd are incredible teachers of conversion for us if we allow our own ears to take in the anger, the frustration, and the hopelessness of those around us. There is no excuse for the Christian to hide from what we truly believe. There is no door that we can close that can keep the pain away anymore. Now is our time. Now is our day to lift up those bowed down by hardship and who have been shunned, diminished, and put down by our privileged existence.
Today, as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, love itself, let it be known that believers in Jesus understand suffering. Let our places of worship ring out in praise of the Sacred Heart who teaches us to tend the weary and the lost. The invitation of Jesus is not only for the rich and the powerful, but also the weary, the broken, and the discouraged.
I want to be among those who find their way into the Heart of Jesus. I have been invited by many who speak to me on the phone and those I encounter along the path to love.
“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.”
God give you peace.