July 6, 2008
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Introductory Prayer: Thank you again, Lord, for this opportunity to spend time with you. I believe in you and your love for me, and I look forward to that day when we can embrace in heaven. Till then, I want to show my love for you in words and deeds.
Petition: Jesus, grant me a meek and humble heart like yours.
1. Counter Intelligence Jesus thanks his heavenly Father for hiding the divine truths from "the wise and the intelligent" and revealing them to the little ones. Understanding the ways of God requires a simple, pure heart. What we might think of as "intelligence" can sometimes be little more than just a talent for manipulating things or ideas or people for our own ends. Someone, for instance, might be clever at making and managing money, but ends up being a poor steward by spending it on the wrong things. Then there is a prideful intelligence that seems blind to common sense. Indeed, some ideas are so crazy that only an intellectual could believe them. On the other side of the spectrum are children, simple and trusting. They can accept the things of God more easily. Trust in God's word requires trust in his love and mercy. It also requires a profound sense of our own littleness compared to his greatness. Do I have such an attitude when approaching him? Can I let go of my way of thinking long enough to see things from God's perspective?
2. Like Father, Like Son Jesus alone in the world knew God the Father. Jesus came, in part, to reveal his Abba. Not everyone understood this. Even the Apostle Philip missed this part of Christ's message. “Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?" (John 14:9). Awareness that Jesus reflects the image of his Father should help us in prayer; it puts a human face on the Father, so to speak. We might pray to Jesus' mother, Mary, with ease. Why not to his Father, too?
3. Model of Meekness It's significant that Jesus points to his meekness and humility when holding himself up as a model for us. Notice that Our Lord doesn't point to his miracles, or his talent for catchy one-liners, or even his devotion to his Mother. Rather, he highlights his own meekness and humility. Jesus even shows these qualities from the moment of his birth. "God is so powerful," said Pope Benedict XVI in his Christmas midnight Mass homily in 2005, "that he can make himself vulnerable and come to us as a defenseless child, so that we can love him." In turn, Jesus invites us to make ourselves vulnerable, to open our hearts to others, even at the risk of being rejected. To incur such a risk is to understand better what Christ did for us. Is Jesus asking me to be more humble with someone?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, you know that humility costs me a lot. It forces me to give up my way of seeing things, of wanting to be appreciated, of wanting to always be in control of everything. Let me be more humble like you. If following you means embracing humility, so be it. Give me the strength to accept that.
Resolution: I will let others have the last word in conversation today.
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