July 18, 2013

The Gospel Today

Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Mt. 11:28-30

Jesus said:
“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.”

Reflection (Sem. Alfredo Dimaano):

Comforting and re-assuring—these words would describe how Jesus’ invitation in today’s Gospel. The 80’s hit song of local artist Basil Valdez’s “Lift Up Your Hands To God” is based on this verse. As the song says: “Life is not that all bad my friend; …if you believe there’s someone who walks through life with you, you’ll never be alone, just learn to reach out and open your heart; Lift up your hands to God and He’ll make you feel alright.”

During my Clinical Pastoral exposure last summer, I met this lady who was seven-month pregnant, separated from her husband, and is in dire need of money to pay for hospital bills. She also attends to her mother who is already in her old age.  In tears, this patient asked me questions that were too heavy for me to take; questions that I myself could not answer: “Why do I have to suffer all these? I serve in the church but why do I still have to be in this condition? I help whenever there were people who needed financial support but now that I am in trouble, no one is there to help. Why?” All those moments, I was just there, listening to her, while at the back of my mind, I believe that she has a point. After the ordeal, I realized that maybe the lady’s concerns were valid but she missed on one thing: that even in her distress, God is there and the rest that He gives is not taking away our afflictions, but in finding peace trusting that Jesus is there every step of the way as He himself had experienced that. Maybe, the woman’s questions need not be answered not because there is no direct reply to them but because for one who trusts in the will of God, they become unnecessary. His call to those who are burdened to find rest in Him signifies not the taking away of sorrows like a pain reliever to an ill part of the body, but more than that, experiencing his compassion, His loving touch, and never fading comfort. I have my share of experience when I asked God that if he really promised rest to those who are weighed down, then why don’t he rescue me? Then in the silence of my weeping heart, I know He whispered: I am here all along and I heard you. There are things that you may not understand at the moment. So just bask yourself in my love now; I will give you rest and My peace, the one that never fades.

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