A Reflection for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time by Fr Louie Kitt
‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’ Matthew 11:28
An older priest asked a group of seminarians and young priests what word sums up the Gospel. Many good answers came but finally the word ‘joy’ came from a young priest. This was the word the elder priest was looking for. We don’t always associate our Catholic faith with joy. Often we fall into the trap of viewing our faith as a burden but this is where prayer and spiritual intimacy come in. We can all be bogged down by life with its endless trials but in today’s Gospel, Jesus says ‘come to me’. There’s no promise that he will take all the difficult scenarios away but rather that when we dedicate time to him in intimate prayer of the heart, simply giving him time as we would any close friend or spouse, life feels different.
At the centre of our faith is that we are called into a covenantal relationship with the God who knows and loves us infinitely. This is the joy that this elderly priest was talking about. If we reduce our faith to a series of laws, we turn it into an unattractive burden. When we see it in terms of a prayerful relationship with the Father just as Jesus had, things will be different and there will be peace and joy. So may we never be afraid to come to our loving Father with all our burdens, concerns and sins, so that we live a life of true joy. Whatever Jesus went through, we too are invited to go through. The crosses in our life maybe painful but nurturing that loving relationship with the Father will help us to live Christ’s joy, knowing that behind the Cross is the Resurrection.