Zechariah 9:9-10; Psalms 145:1-2, 8-14; Romans 8:9, 11-13; Matthew 11:25-30
Well dear friends in Christ, we have finished the Easter – Pentecost season and a few major feasts, which flow from the life of Jesus on earth. Now we come to rest, as it were, sliding into "home place" from our bobsled run. We slide into ordinary Sundays until we move into the Advent Season at the end of November. Each year we "relive" the life of Jesus in our liturgical daily prayers.
What can we see then with these readings? I love this St. Matthew text and often use it when I do hospital calls or visit those in great need. Openness to God is important in the second reading and the gospel. St. John gives us some key advice in 8:31-32. "If you make my Word your home, (or make your home in my Word) you will indeed be my disciples (students), you will learn my Truth, and that truth will set you free.”
We need the Holy Spirit to turn his lights on in our mind so we can understand. We also need to seek God’s plan for our life. Coming to God in a simple and childlike manner will bless our life. In today’s Matthew text, Jesus asks us to come to him in the midst of our labors and burdens. He will teach and refresh us. His yoke is easy and his burden light. He wants to surround and fill us with his resurrected light.
The second reading from chapter 8 of St. Paul to the Romans is very unique. The Holy Spirit is mentioned some 19 times. Paul is comparing the work of the Holy Spirit to our fallen human nature with the allurements of the devils to destroy us. It is a battle of salvation in Christ for our soul to be led to heavenly happiness and the destructive work of satan and all his followers to take us to be with them in hell. Reading "Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis is insightful. We can see the effects of the "kingdom of darkness" all around us each day in the newspaper and TV: confusion, death and destruction. The Holy Spirit is in opposition to all that evil. This chapter is long and detailed and takes a lot of study and prayer.
We all have the whole Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, living within our body from the time of our baptism, unless we have thrown them out through serious sin. Are we aware of the divine presence and guidance in our life? Or are we ignorant and do not want to be aware? Are we on our way to heaven or hell? We make the choice even daily. Our human spirit united with God’s Holy Spirit will enlighten and guide us. He will remind and instruct us of all that Jesus said. He will guide us to all truth as St. John told us in those 5 Holy Spirit sayings. Will we follow? Holy Spirit, please help us each day to be aware of and follow your guidance.
(© 2014 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)