Sunday, July 5
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.”
As we gather to celebrate our wonderful country’s independence this weekend, I happened to tune in to the classic film called Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. For those who may not have seen it, Mr. Smith was played by the late actor, Jimmy Stewart. He portrayed Mr. Smith as an every man “aw shucks” kind of guy who makes his way into the U.S. Senate. In fact, it is his very character as a meek and humble guy-on-the-street that throws the corruption and ambition of DC politics into sharp relief. Such political values as meekness, humility and lowliness, have not always been so prevalent. For many throughout history, the demonstration of power – rather than humility – has been the key to political success. Modern day politicians feel they have to portray themselves as someone in charge who would get things done, be aggressive, and lead their people into victory.
In the Scriptures, the Old Testament prophets exposed the leaders for exercising power without justice. In the New Testament, Jesus and the apostles proclaimed a new kingdom altogether that will be one of love, meekness and humility. “Meek” is not a word we often use, but in this week’s Old Testament reading from Zechariah the prophet writes that “…the king…will be a just savior…meek…”and in the Gospel we see it come up when Jesus says ” Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened. Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.”
Such a message should indeed provide relief in our acrimonious political atmosphere. Not that Jesus would run for the US Senate, of course – his kingdom is not of this world. But when we feel exhausted by politics, this pandemic, the sorry state of our world, the different issues that divide us and our failure to communicate with one another civilly, we may find solace in Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus, although he was God, exercised and modeled humility for us all. And in that humility, we may rest from our own pretensions to greatness. God is not on our side over against their side; he is on the side of the poor and powerless against their oppressors. And in that we may find our rest.
-Deacon Frank Iannarino