A Gracious Father and a Loving Heart

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Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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.”

Opening Prayer: Lord, each day I experience my own smallness, my insufficiencies, and my shortcomings. Still, I know that you are the One who accomplish every good thing in my life, and that on my own I can do nothing. Therefore, Lord, I cast my worries to you, and I renew my faith, hope, and love in your infinite goodness. Lord, grant me the humble knowledge that you are working in me, and that I am in your hands.

Encountering Christ:

  1. Faith to the Little Ones: Every day we experience, in some form or another, our own smallness. Whether it is our lack of attention at work, laughing at something that makes us look insensitive, or simply not meeting up to our own exaggerated expectations of ourselves, we fall far short of seeming “wise and learned” by the world’s standards. However, Christ says that the Father has hidden “these things”–spiritual truths–from the wise and the learned, and revealed them to the childlike. Why is that? Precisely because God and a proud soul–a soul who touts its own wisdom and learning–are like oil and water. They cannot mix. A small soul is able to allow God’s greatness to overshadow it, and thus able to receive spiritual wisdom.
  2. The Father’s Gracious Will: One of the most intriguing lines of Jesus in the entire Gospel occurs here, in Matthew, with a parallel in the Gospel of Luke: “Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.” The prophet Isaiah spoke of God’s ways being so high above our own (see Isaiah 55:8-9), but Jesus shows us that this is not because God is some sort of dilettante whose whims are inscrutable, but rather that God is a gracious Father. God is always looking for our good, and even if we cannot understand his plans in the present moment, God the Son in Jesus shows us that childlike trust always turns us toward praise and appreciation of a Father who truly loves us.
  3. The Yoke of Christ: Outside the steps leading to our seminary in Cheshire, Connecticut, there is a large granite crucifix. It is unique: Instead of the typical crucified Lord hanging in agony, Christ stands as though already risen, arms extended and his Sacred Heart burning with love. Engraved below Our Lord are the very same words from the end of this Gospel passage: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy ladened, and I will give you rest.” These words are an indescribable source of comfort for every Christian: Christ bore the Cross first for us, and he rose again that we too may rise. His heart bears all of our woes and sorrows, and is a sure resting place for us all.

Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, teach me how to walk in faith and in childlike simplicity. At times, this life can be difficult and complicated. I place all of my troubles and cares on your heart; grant me that special knowledge of the Father’s gracious will, and help me to remember that I am loved and all is working toward my final good.

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will spend a few minutes before a holy image (maybe of the Sacred Heart or Our Lady), asking for faith and trust.

For Further Reflection: Go deeper into Regnum Christi’s understanding of devotion to the Sacred Heart in the retreat guide “Fire and Thorns” by Fr. John Bartunek, LC.

Written by Br. Brian Flanagan, LC.

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