Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year A


James D. McBurney, O.S.A. 
Province of St. Thomas of Villanova

Zec 9:9-10
Ps 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13-14
Rom 8:9, 11-13
Mt 11:25-30

All of us have received invitations to weddings, graduations, baptisms, significant anniversaries and birthdays. I think most of us would agree that we enjoy receiving these invitations. Receiving an invitation from someone is a reminder that we are in relationship with that person and that particular person wants us to share in this special occasion, whatever it may be. Last November, I received a call from a cousin who told me that he had recently been engaged. He asked me if I would officiate at his wedding, which is scheduled to take place in November 2020. I told him that I would be delighted to do so.

In the Gospel today, Jesus extends an invitation and a promise to those who are willing to be his followers, those whom he refers to as “little ones.” He invites them as well as you and me and all who hear his word this day to come to him, to take up his yoke and to find rest with him. He invites us to recognize that he desires to be in relationship with each of us. How are we to come to him and what is the “rest” of which he speaks? We are to go to him with our burdens. For the Jewish people of Jesus’ time, they were burdened by the observance of many rules and regulations given in the Old Testament and imposed on them by the Pharisees and religious leaders of the day. Against this background, Jesus assures us that his burden is light. What burdens you this day? Is it a recent loss, a medical condition, a bad habit, a relationship that is not all you would like it to be, a financial worry or simply trying to navigate the demands of daily life in this time of a coronavirus pandemic? Each of us is burdened by something. Jesus beckons us: Come to me … and you will find rest.

The rest of which Jesus speaks is more than physical rest. It is about recognizing that in him we find our purpose for living, we come to know why we exist, and who we are called to be for him and for one another.

I am reminded of an old spiritual song which includes a line that says: “I’m going to lay down my burdens, down by the riverside, down by the riverside.” How freeing it is to lay down our burdens before the One who continually invites us to see things anew and be transformed in him. May we always have the humility to lay down our burdens and be strengthened by God’s Word and the Eucharist so that we might better serve one another.