Is 40:25-31; Matt 11:28-30
The Gentle Mastery of Christ
OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:
In a parish with old religious beliefs and traditions, there are people who still do the flagellante practices during Holy Week as a sign of penance and contrition for their sins.
Although the Church does not condemn this practice, it does not recommend it. This is not to discredit this tradition, but there is a better way to encounter the forgiving Christ – the wonderful sacrament of reconciliation. Through the absolution of the priest the sinner has the assurance that his/her sins are forgiven by Christ whop died for him/her on the cross. We do not have to whip ourselves physically and carry wooden crosses in symbolic gestures, for we cannot gain our salvation by our own efforts but through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.
In humility, let us unburden our sinful self to the Lord through this sacrament. God constantly invites us, “Come to me, all you labor and are burdened…” (DWCSJ-CMC Bible Diary 2002)
…It has been observed that most mentally sick people become sober and peaceful when they enter a church. It seems that in their present state, everything has been forgotten: friends, family, relationships, one’s identity, etc. only one thing remains – her/his relationship with God. It seems, she/he recognizes no one else – only God. It seems that only this Silent God makes him/her secure. It seems the only invitation she/he hears is God’s, “Come to Me all you who are burdened…I will give you rest…” and nobody else.
This indeed is the voice of God resounding from the very depths of one’s being. Being absorbed in our many concerns: works, ambitions, desires, social relationships or even families and friends, can hinder us from hearing this invitation of God to learn on Him and find rest for our weary hearts. Unconsciously, being overly concerned with many things including our self gives us no peace and causes in us impatience, irritability and anger. Jesus, the Son of God who became man, knows our weaknesses even before we can own them. Without us asking, He offers Himself to be there, and ease our burdens. “Just come to me,” He would say, “and you’ll learn from my humble heart. There you will find rest for your soul.”
One rainy morning, I celebrated the Holy Eucharist in a particular barrio in the parish where I was assigned. On my way back, riding a motorcycle together with one of our parish staff, I felt very exhausted not only because the barrio was far but because the road was in bad shape. In the midst of heavy downpour, we decided to look for a shelter. Thank God we were able to pass by a small hut along the roadside. At the front door, we were greeted by a couple in the mid 30s who invited us to come in. despite their hospitality I felt so uneasy since deep inside me, I had so many concerns. I was really worried because we only had a couple of pesos in our mass collection which would not even suffice to replenish gasoline expenses. Would I be able to raise a substantial amount to pay the salaries of our workers? Would I be able to pay electric bills? I was worried then since the parish priest was on retreat during that time. I was also asking myself if I would be able to survive in this area, and so on…. To break the silence, I talked to them and asked several questions. In the brief interview, I learned that they have twelve children and the eldest was still in high school. A bit surprised, I spontaneously asked both of them,, “How did you survive?” they both gave me a smile and said, “Yes, we are poor, Father but God is with us.” That simple faith experience reminded me that despite everything, we should not lose hope for God is always with us.
We have different problems in life and we respond depending on our respective dispositions. Jesus in today’s gospel invites us that amidst the troubles, difficulties and struggles in life, we should turn to Him and learn from His examples. He assures us that in Him alone can lasting peace be found. When our crosses in life seem so heavy, we should not ask God to lighten the crosses we are carrying; we ask Him instead to strengthen our backs in carrying them.
In this second week of advent, we are continuously asked not only to deepen our understanding of His becoming one of us but also to reevaluate our faith. we should bear in mind that God is with us and will always be with us as we go through life. (Fr. Roger Solis, SVD Bible Diary 2008)
Psychiatrist Scott Peck’s first line in Section I of his book The Road Less Traveled reads: “Life is difficult.” Logotherapist Victor Frankl, who suffered much from the cruel hands of the Nazis, writes in Man’s Search for Meaning: “To live is to suffer….” Philisopher Albert Camus puts it simply: “Life is absurd.” Even Buddha acknowledges: “Life is full of suffering.”
Are you tired of life? Do you feel so burdened? Listen to Jesus, “Come to me, all you who labor and burdened and I will give you rest… learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for yourselves.” We come to Jesus when we convert our cross into crucifix. Jesus reminds us to focus our attention on him rather than on our problems. Let us spend 10% of our time analyzing the problem, 90% doing something to solve the problem.
Spending time with God is much better than wasting our time complaining and grudging. Let’s fix our gaze on Jesus with trust and faith. Let’s offer to Him all the trials and challenges that burden us. Ipasa-load mo kay Jesus. hayaan mong si Jesus ang magproblema at ikaw ay magpahinga (Toss everything to Jesus. Let Him carry your problems, sit back and relax). Finally, let Jesus fix your problems. He is the best fixer. (Fr. Glenn Paul Gomez, SVD Bible Diary 2009)
Advent is a season of waiting for Someone to come. While we wait for the coming of Jesus, the Anointed One, the Savior, God invites us through Jesus to trustingly lay our burden on Him so that He could help lighten it. What a fitting gospel message for us during this season!
“Come to me all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Those are life and love-giving words from God. These words of God became real to me when I was in Ghana, West Africa, 12 years ago.
I suffered a stroke in 1998. This was the crucial moment in my life. I thought my earthly life and pilgrimage was at its end then. However, God has promised us that He is there to give us rest and assurance of His love and presence.
Missionaries from different societies and congregations in the mission area stormed heaven with prayers. In the hospital, these God-sent priests and religious lifted me up in prayer. Their undying faith gave me the assurance that I could overcome the painful suffering caused by the stroke. God gave me rest in His amazing grace. I felt energized, invigorated and whole again.
Whenever we come to God through Jesus, all our burdens, trials and all sorts of pain and difficulties became easy for us to carry. We experience inner strength to enable us to face any challenge before us. We are no longer alone. There is Someone who is ready to support and help us move on in our life’s journey.
There are still traces of my stroke, I still walk with a metal brace on my left foot. However, the brace has become light and even helps me to walk with grace knowing that Jesus, the long-awaited Savior, is with me in my journey. (Sr. Wilfredis Jacob, SSpS, Bible Diary 2009)
December 7, 2016 Wednesday
Climbing for the first time the mountains to Sitio Yangka, in Capas, Tarlac, where a community of our Aeta brothers and sisters live, was an unforgettable experience. I had mixed feelings: enthusiastic and excited to reach the mountain top and see how the place looked; afraid and anxious at the thought of falling, getting bruised or having broken bones and consequently, ending my new mission among the indigenous people.
It did not dawn on me that I might die. In my heart and mind, I was being led by Jesus and surrounded by His angels on my way up. True enough, I reached the plateau safely with the aid of fellow climbers who took turns assisting me. They were the angels of God in disguise.
Joy, peace, relief! A feeling of being loved filled my being. Tired and sweating I lied down for some moments in the staff house. It was then when I heard Jesus’ sweet invitation: “Come to Me.
Take your rest, relax. I’m happy that you are here with Me in this place. Welcome home.” Lying at on the bamboo floor, I closed my eyes and savored those assuring words. My heart was singing of relief from the burdens of fear, anxiety and doubts that day. From then on, “Come to Me” had become my mantra in whatever situation I was in. It was not a command but a gentle persuasion to be with Jesus; a gesture of welcome and total acceptance; a generous offer of 100% presence by Someone who cares without condition.
“Come to Me”. Heed Jesus’ words and experience Him lifting any kind of burden you are carrying, setting you free to soar like an eagle with renewed strength to carry on. (Sr. Sister Flora Mallari, SSpS | Holy Spirit Aeta Mission, Tarlac Bible Diary 2016)
HUMBLED BY OTHERS: When you are honest and you know it, you thank God for it and acknowledge it. But when you are humble, and you know it, then you’ve lost it.
When we were in grade school, we were given so many awards by our teachers – awards for being helpful, diligent and so many other things. One of the awards was a little ribbon, an award for being humble. I was not given that award. A classmate was given that award. But after a week, the ribbon was taken away from him because after wearing the ribbon, he lost his humility.
Humility does not mean that we always aspire for the lowest places. Humility does not mean we should be ill-at-ease with the honors given us.
Humility is actually the spirit of detachment. Even if we are given the best place in the party, we should not feel proud. In the same way, even if we are given the last place, we should feel awkward or angry.
It is very easy to say, “I am nothing.” But after you say this, and you indeed treated as nothing, then you say, “What about justice, fairness and human rights?” That is not humility.
It is very easy to say that I want to be taken for granted. We are humble, not when we humble ourselves. We are humble, not when we tell everybody we are nothing.
We are humble when we tell everybody we are nothing and everybody treats us as nothing and we take it for Christ. (Soc Villegas, Jesus Loves You, p. 19-20)
JESUS KNOWS: If I see a man in trouble and tell him to cheer up, I am almost certain I will get a bitter smile. He would probably reason out that I could say such words because I do not feel his pain. There are moments in our life when we feel so desolate, and then a friend comes along and tells us, “Cheer up.” To this we will probably counter, “How can you say that to me? You do not understand what I am going through.”
But there is a friend who is better and greater than your best friend. The friend is Jesus.
Jesus, our friend, tells us, when we are troubled, “Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome. You will be refreshed. Come to me, cheer up, it is not the end of the world.” But unlike Jesus, we cannot tell him, “Come on, Jesus, you tell me to cheer up, you don’t know what I am going through.” We cannot tell Jesus that because He went through pain that we are going through.
If you are mourning or grieving for the death of a loved one, please do not forget that Jesus also grieved over the death of Lazarus and Joseph, His foster father.
If you are grieving for finances, remember that Jesus faced the same difficulty because He had to feed 12 apostles while He Himself did not have any bed on which to place His head for the night.
If you feel you have been betrayed by a friend, remember that Jesus was betrayed by His best friend.
If you feel that your schedule is terrible, if you feel that your boss is bearing down hard on you, do not forget that Jesus also felt the crowd always pressing on Him, the crowd always running after Him, the crowd practically clawing to get everything out of Him.
When you are in trouble and Jesus tells you: “Come and I will refresh you; come and I will cheer you up; come, there is no problem; cheer up, it is not the end of the world,” you cannot tell Jesus, “You have never experienced what I am going through.” He did experience what you are going through. Every pain, every ache, every anxiety, every fear that that you have to face, Jesus has faced them ahead of all of us.
So the good news today is that Jesus, our friend, tells us, “In the face of your problem, cheer up. I have gone ahead of you, but I am always here for you.” (Soc Villegas, Only Jesus Always Jesus, p. 108-109)
December 12, 2012
Our Lady of Guadalupe
[or Zec 2:14-17
The Gentle Mastery of Christ
[Jesus said to the crowds,] 28“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
You will find rest. God has taken the initiative to seek us and has revealed himself to us. We have to open our eyes and our hearts to God who is always present to us, silently but surely working in us and for us. Whether we are up or down, successful or struggling, God is with us.
We do not have to wait for God; God always waits for us, making it easy for us to find him. We do not have to worry about adjusting to moods or about being rejected. God is ever ready to understand us.
By ourselves, we cannot cope with the worries, anxieties, and problems of life. But we can rely on God. We can present to God all our hurts, bruises, and burdens. We can look to him for solutions and strategies, comforts and consolation, peace and salvation.
In the midst of our hectic schedules, God invites us to have coffee break with him… Shall we accept his invitation?
I will turn to God for comfort and consolation. I will give my burdens to God.
Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Advent (Year C)
Mateo 11:28-30. Unsa may gipasabot ni Cristo sa iyang pag-ingon, “Sayon ang yugo nga akong ihatag kaninyo, ug gaan ang ipapas-an ko kaninyo”. Ang yugo nahimong simbolo sa pagpangalagad tungod kay kini usa man ka instrumento nga itaud sa mananap aron makaserbisyo sa iyang agalon. Ang yugo ni Cristo sayon ug gaan tungod kay ipapas-an man kini uban sa gugma. Kon mahigugma kita sa atong trabaho, dili gyod kita bation og kakapoy. Kon mahigugma kita sa mga tawo nga atong gialagaran, dili gyod kita abuton og kaluya. Nganong lami man ang pagkaon nga niluto sa inahan? Kini tungod kay ang pagkaon giluto man uban sa gugma. Nganong gaan man pas-anon ang atong igsoon? Kini tungod kay ang atong gipas-an ato man nga hinigugma. (Fr. Abet Uy)
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
WEDNESDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK OF ADVENT (YEAR C) – MATEO 11:28-30. UNSA MAY GIPASABOT NI KRISTO SA PAG-INGON: “SAYON ANG YUGO NGA AKONG IHATAG KANINYO, UG GAAN ANG IPAPAS-AN KO KANINYO”? Ang yugo maoy simbolo sa pagpangalagad tungod kay kini usa man ka instrumento nga itaud sa mananap aron makaserbisyo sa iyang amo. Ang yugo ni Kristo sayon ug gaan tungod kay ipapas-an man kini uban sa gugma. Kon mahigugma kita sa trabaho, dili nato bati-on ang kakapoy. Matod pa ni Confucius: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Kon adunay gugma, ang trabaho mura na og dili trabaho. Ang labing dakong sugo ni Kristo mao ang paghigugma sa Dios ug sa isigkatawo. Kon matuman nato kini, ang tanan natong buluhaton mahimo nang sayon. Matod pa sa panultihon, “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” Posted by Abet Uy
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Reflection for December 9, Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent: Matthew 11:28-30
Reflection: There’s a story about a very rich man who was so burdened by his problems. He tried many ways to solve, he thought his money would help him solve his problems, to no avail. He went to his friends and indulge in drinking sessions and vices yet it did not solve his problems.
He was living like a ship without a rudder aimlessly drifting to nowhere, he didn’t know it but he was slowly wasting his life. Until he meet a relative who was an active member of the church. He opened-up to him and the relative listened.
At the end the relative had only one advice: “Go and spend time with Jesus in the adoration chapel. Then, don’t miss Sunday Mass and when you are at Mass be attentive and listen to every word being spoken for many of it will speak to you. You also read your bible for Jesus will also speak to you there. To cut short a long story, he made a devotion to the adoration chapel, went to Holy Mass as often as he could. And regularly read his bible.
After a few weeks he already had a normal family life. Yes, from time to time there were still problems that need to be sorted out. But he knows now where to go. Not to his vices, not to his money not even to his friends. But to Jesus in the adoration chapel, to Jesus in the Holy Mass and to Jesus in the Holy bible.
In the gospel 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.
Why does Jesus invites us to go to him? We who are sinful and we who are beset by our many burdens. This is for the reason that Jesus loves us dearly, Jesus doesn’t want us to waste our life by finding earthy solutions to our burdens.
Take this offer of Jesus by surrendering your life to Him. And see for yourself the miracle that He will create in your life the moment you surrender it to Him. – Marino J. Dasmarinas
Is 40: 25-31; Mt 11: 28-30
Take My Burden
Back in 1918, a boy named Howard Loomis was abandoned by his mother at Father Flanagan’s Home for Boys, which had just opened an year earlier. Howard had polio and wore heavy leg braces. Walking was very difficult for him, especially when he had to go up or down the stairs.
Soon, several of the Home’s older boys were carrying Howard up and down the stairs. One day, Father Flanagan asked Reuben Granger, one of those older boys, if carrying Howard was hard.
Reuben replied, “He isn’t heavy, Father… he’s my brother.” Jesus says, “Take my burden, because that burden is light and easy”.
Jesus speaks about “my yoke” and “my burden” suggesting that there are other burdens we should not carry. He accused the religious and political leaders of his time (which may be true in our times also!) that they put heavy burdens on the people.
Jesus spoke not only about the burdens others put on our shoulders but also the burdens we ourselves put on our shoulders. To the rich young man he said-“Throw away the burden of your wealth from your shoulders.”
He advises – “Take my burden, the burden of love” Consider others as your brothers and sisters, the children of the same Father in heaven. They are your brothers and sisters and they are not heavy. Dr. James ML CMI
HIS YOKE – “Take my yoke upon you… and you will find rest.” – Matthew 11:29
Are you a mother whose daily task is to care for her children? Or a father who works hard to provide for the family? Or a volunteer for a church or community? That must be a “heavy burden.” Yet I bet it is made light — because you do it for love.
The verse above is one of the most comforting verses. We can’t help but get weary from all our responsibilities and the never-ending things that clamor for our attention.
And for this, Jesus promises us rest from our burdens. But did you notice that He doesn’t remove the weight that we carry but rather replaces it with something else? In place of our burdens, He gives us His yoke.
So how can we have our rest when we still have something on our shoulders? The yoke of Jesus is the yoke of love. It is the Cross, which is surely too heavy for us. But our own crosses become small and light compared to His. Yet, Jesus’ Cross, because it is carried with love, will not only give us true rest. It will also help others get their rest, too.
Above all, when we carry His yoke, it will indeed be light because we don’t carry it alone. He carries it with us. Alvin Barcelona (email@example.com)
Reflection: Are you carrying a heavy burden all by yourself? Trade it with the yoke of Jesus, and let Him carry it with you.
Dear God, this coming Christmas, I receive the hope, peace and rest You promised, as I carry Your yoke with love — and with You. Amen.
THE YOKE THAT JESUS OFFERS – A yoke makes us imagine the burden that a beast — like a horse or a bull — has to carry. Jesus teaches that following His teachings and ways also involves burden. Life on earth has this mark; it cannot be without burden. This is normal. The Christian faith brings no illusion of a life without consequences and demands. Jesus’ becoming man opened Him up to the imperfections of human nature — being subject to time; being limited by space; being affected by human emotions and relations; becoming vulnerable to pain and sickness.
The “yoke” of Jesus however, is light.
It is light in contrast with the Old Testament “yoke,” which consists of legal dos and don’ts. The Old Testament “yoke” is contained in impersonal letters of the Covenant Laws that usually carried penalties when these are not kept. Jesus, on the other hand, gives preachings that He Himself lived. He therefore says, “I am the Truth, the Way and the Life.”
It is light in contrast with the Old Testament “yoke” that is simply a command. Jesus, for His part, leads the way, and He walks with us along the way. Jesus’ way is marked with His own companionship, and with His compassion amidst our human frailty.
This season, let us continue to honor Jesus by reaching out to those among us with heavy “yokes.” Let us make them experience our presence and concern. Let us share with them the gift of our time and attention, and the gift of our active listening and understanding.Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP
REFLECTION QUESTION: Make a list of persons whom you wish to accompany with your special care during this season. What “best personal gift” can you give them?
Make me another Jesus to those who need Your presence, dear Lord. Amen.
Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Advent
Is 40: 25-31; Ps 103: 1-2. 3-4. 8 and 10; Mt 11: 28-30
JESUS IS MY YOKE!
Jesus says, “My yoke is easy” (Mt 11:30).
Yoke, in olden days, was a wood piece that was used to connect two oxen when they had to pull something. Later, a yoke is used in mechanical motors to hold together certain moving parts. In short, a yoke could be defined as a connecting part.
Jesus is my yoke!
Jesus my yoke connects with eternity because he has said “one who believes in me will live even if s/he dies (Jn 11:26).
Jesus my yoke connects with my abba father (Jn 14:6).
Jesus my yoke connects me with my brothers and sisters.
Jesus my yoke connects me with the nature because he could calm down the sea and wind.
Jesus my yoke connects me with that is not negative in my life – ego, pride, selfishness.
Jesus as my yoke would be painful in its first appearance. Because we need to sacrifice many things to have this yoke, we have to forego many a thing.
But compared to the benefits of this yoke, our suffering are nothing to be worried of.
Let’s take Jesus as our yoke – His ideals, His values, His dreams, etc.
They are easy to carry, because they connect us with eternity. FR.JOHNSON BEZALEL CMI
December 07, 2016
Nowadays there is a lot of talk about stress and about burnout. It seems that the pace of modern living has become such that our nervous system just cannot cope with it. Despite all our so-called “labor-saving devices,” we never pack enough meetings, textings, interviews, cellphone calls and messages to do everything we want to do—including some forms of dangerous multi-tasking like texting and driving a car. No wonder people develop all kinds of psychosomatic disorders. We simply do not know how to rest, and this is making us miserable.
By contrast, it is interesting to notice some exceptional people who lead very active lives but who are always relaxed, serene, self-possessed. What is their secret? If you observe them closely, you will soon discover that, every now and then, they withdraw from the general frenzy and pray. If you ask them what they are doing, they might answer you, “I am recharging my batteries with the Lord. He told us to go to him when we feel burdened and weary. Well, that is what I do. And I come out of my prayer wonderfully refreshed. Try it and you will see. It always works.” That is what they will tell you. Why not try it yourself?
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