Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Zechariah 9:9-10; Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14; Romans 8:9, 11-13; Matthew 11:25-30

First Reading: Zechariah proclaims the coming of the Messiah in striking imagery. The king will not come on a warhorse, with a display of military might, but meekly, on a beast of burden. And yet, his power is beyond question, as he sweeps away chariots, horses, and weapons of war, and proclaims peace to the whole earth.

Psalm 145: Today’s responsorial psalm praises God, the great king, who is full of kindness, compassion, and mercy towards all he has made.

Second Reading: In today’s second reading, Paul reminds us that those who have been baptized into Christ are no longer “in the flesh” but rather “in the spirit.” Through Baptism, we have become the dwelling-places of the Holy Spirit, and everything we do must take this great reality into account. We no longer live for this life only: we look to the life yet to come, which has already begun for us through Baptism.

Gospel: Jesus praises God who reveals his wisdom not to the usual suspects – the wise, the learned, the important – but to those no one would expect: the little ones, the childlike. This passage ends with a wonderful invitation, as Jesus calls all who carry heavy burdens to come to him and find rest. Jesus is “meek and humble of heart,” the king of gentleness and power that Zechariah foretold.

Reflection: In today’s Gospel passage, Matthew has Jesus make various affirmations about himself, both in his relationship to God and to his followers. The passage centers on what wisdom is and where it can be found. Matthew contrasts the wisdom found among the “wise and learned,” symbolized by the scribes and Pharisees, with the wisdom that Jesus reveals to his followers, the “little ones.” Jesus begins by praising God for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to the ‘1ittle ones,” and not to the wise and learned who think they know and therefore are not open to other sources of wisdom. Jesus is the source of God’s wisdom because of the special relationship that Jesus has with the Father. That special relationship enables Jesus to know the Father, and in return, the fullness of God is revealed in Jesus. Anyone who is open to the person and wisdom that Jesus shares will also come to know God.

The last few verses are unique to the Gospel according to Matthew, which addresses issues important to his community. The invitation to come to know Jesus, the wisdom of God, is universal, offered to all willing to learn from Jesus and follow through on the demands of discipleship. The “yoke” of discipleship calls one to live in humility and meekness, attuned to God and concerned for the other. Such a lifestyle is in contrast to the Pharisaic “yoke” which shackled and burdened people with many regulations but not much wisdom.

God’s gracious will is that God comes to us and, in turn, invites us to come to Christ (“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened”). As meek and humble of heart, Jesus is accessible to us. But if we choose to come to him, we also share the burden that Jesus himself carries. This burden is that of utter fidelity to doing the Father’s will; it is self-giving for the sake of others; it is seeing the face of our meek and humble Savior in the face of the dying and needy. Yet Jesus promises that his burden is easy and light. The burden is easy and light because Jesus shares the burden of carrying it with us who are yoked to him. We do not shoulder the yoke or carry the burden alone. All we need to do is come to him and find rest!

Question for reflection: What “burden” do I bring to Jesus and how does it affect my discipleship?

Copyright © 2017, Scott W. Eakins. All Rights Reserved.

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